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Full text of "The story of The Mikado"



NY PUBLIC. LIBRARY THE BRANCH LIBRAR ES 



33333023747328 



G- 



j ,- ^-^'S 

ER 

KEWYORIC, H.Y. 10019 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 



"ALAS, MY POOR LITTLE BRIDE THAT WAS TO BE" 

(74) 



r 





ORY. 



THE MIKADO 

TOLD BY 



SI *WS.GI1 BER1 




DANIEL O'CONNOR 

,90 GREAT RUSSELL STREET 



. f 
ARY 

6'158330 

AS'- <VO 

TILDI 'ON8. 

C I- 



PRINTED BY 

HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LD. 
LONDON AND AYLESBORY. 



FOREWORD 

SOME of those who owe many a delightful 
hour to the genius of Sir William S. Gilbert 
may be interested in hearing how this book 
came to be written. In the pre-war days, that now 
seem so dim and distant, it occurred to his publisher 
that the story of " The Mikado," told afresh by its 
author, would be welcomed by many of his admirers. 

Sir William Gilbert accepted the project with even 
more than his usual geniality, and many talks about 
it with him will always be remembered by those who 
had the good fortune to be present. 

That its publication has been so long delayed must 
be attributed mainly to the difficulties which have 
obstructed the production of books, especially those 
with coloured illustrations, during the last seven 
years. 

But the evidence of never-failing popularity which 
recent revivals of the Savoy Operas have afforded, 
suggests that this last literary work of Sir W. S. 
Gilbert should be no longer withheld from the public, 
and it is now offered to his devotees, with fresh illus- 
trations by Miss Alice B. Woodward, whose talented 
work and sympathetic rendering of all that is humor- 
ous and fanciful have made her known to a wide 
circle of admirers. D. O'C. 

vii 



CONTENTS 

Page 

Chapter I I 

II 33 

III 46 

IV 60 
V 74 

VI 90 



IX 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Coloured 

Page 

" Alas, my poor little bride that was to be " 

Frontispiece 

Their eyes met 7 

" Pish Tush, run him off " 4* 

He saw Yum-Yum enter the garden 47 

" I claim my perjured lover, Nanki Poo " 65 

A troupe of warriors in red and black armour 93 

Black and White 

Pooh Bah and part of the family tree 19 
Pooh Bah sobbed as he stooped to pick up a 

halfpenny 26 

" Why, it's never you " 38 

" That's absurd," said Koko 53 

" Think you had better succumb cumb-cumb" 68 
" What do you mean ? " asked Koko in great 

alarm 86 

" I bared my big right arm ' 98 

" Then we'll make it after lunch " 106 

" Oh, I'm a silly little goose " 112 

At all events he appeared to be satisfied The End 



XI 




T has recently been dis- 
covered that Japan is a great 
and glorious country \whose 
people are brave beyond all 
measure, wise beyond all tell- 
ing, amiable to excess, and 
extraordinarily considerate to 
each other and to strangers. 
This is the greatest discovery 
of the early years of the 
twentieth century, and is 
one of the results of the tremendous lesson the 
Japanese inflicted on the Russians, who attempted 
to absorb a considerable portion of Manchuria a 
few years ago. The Japanese, however, attained 
their present condition of civilization very gradually, 
and at the date of my story they had peculiar tastes, 
ideas and fashions of their own, many of which they 
discarded when they found that they did not coincide 
with the ideas of the more enlightened countries of 

i 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Europe. So if my readers are of opinion (as they 
very likely will be) that some of their customs, as 
they are revealed in this story, are curious, odd or 
ridiculous, they must bear in mind that the Japan 
of that time was very unlike the Japan of to-day. 
It is important to bear this in mind, because our 
Government being (in their heart of hearts) a little 
afraid of the Japanese, are extremely anxious not to 
irritate or offend them in any way lest they should 
come over here and give us just such a lesson as 
they gave the Russians a few years ago. My readers 
will understand that this fear is not entertained by 
the generality of inhabitants of Great Britain and 
Ireland who, as a body, are not much afraid of any 
nation ; it is confined mainly to the good and wise 
gentlemen who rule us, just now, and whose wishes 
should consequently be respected. 

Many years ago (I won't say how many because I 
don't know) Japan was ruled by a great and powerful 
Mikado, arid a Mikado in those days was regarded as 
four-fifths a King and one-fifth a god. It has recently 
been decided that there is less of the god in him than 
people originally supposed, and he is now regarded 
simply as an absolute monarch ; but at the time of 
my story the mistake that his subjects made as to 

2 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

how he was put together had not been discovered. 

If the existing Mikado had one fault (mind, I 
don't say that he had), it was a habit of punishing 
every mistake, however insignificant, with death, 
and this caused him to be regarded with a kind of 
respectful horror by his subjects at large. But it 
must be remembered that he lived a long time ago, 
and no Mikado of the present day would ever think 
of doing anything of the kind. 

Now, in those days there was a certain musician 
called Nanki Poo, who played the second trombone 
in the Purple Tartarian Band, and the Purple 
Tartarian Band was engaged for the season as the 
Town Band of a popular seaside resort called Titipu, 
and Titipu was the capital of an important province 
called Toki-Saki. The Town Band used to play 
every morning at the end of the pier, and it was 
customary for all the visitors at Titipu to stroll up 
and down the pier, after bathing, just as they do to- 
day at Brighton or Weymouth. One of his audience 
was a beautiful young girl called Yum-Yum, who 
was betrothed, quite against her will, to her guardian 
Koko, a cheap advertising tailor in a large way of 
business. ' Yum-Yum " means, when translated, 
' The full moon of delight which sheds her remark- 

3 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

able beams over a sea of infinite loveliness, thus 
indicating a glittering path by which she may be 
approached by those who are willing to brave the 
perils which necessarily await the daring adventurers 
who seek to reach her by those means," which shows 
what a compact language the Japanese is when all 
these long words can be crammed into two syllables 
or rather, into one syllable repeated. Personally I 
should say that this description was a little high- 
flown for a school-girl home for the holidays, however 
pretty she might be, but, like most first names, it 
was given to her when she was a baby and expressed 
nothing more than her fond parents' hopes that she 
would eventually growup to deserve it, and Yum- Yum 
was after all a very attractive young lady. Now Yum- 
Yum, who had a delicate ear for music, detected a 
quality in Nanki Poo'sperf ormance on the second trom- 
bone which plainly distinguished him from the very 
inferior artist who played the first trombone, and who, 
from motives of professional jealousy, blew upon his 
instrument with all his might in order to divert atten- 
tion from Nanki Poo to himself. But this ill-natured 
man defeated his own object, for though Nanki Poo, 
as second trombone, had nothing to do but to play 
Amorosamente, ma non troppo 

4 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

over and over again while his jealous superior played 
the air, Nanki's " Too, too, too " was given with 
such tender delicacy and with such an exquisite 
appreciation of the precise shade of sentiment in- 
tended to be conveyed by the composer, that the 
crowd listened to him with tears in their eyes and 
simply regarded the first trombone, who only played 
the air, as an interfering and self-asserting busy-body. 
This was especially the case when " Home, sweet 
Home " was played, for after he had blown at 
' Home, sweet Home " as loud as he could, every- 
body wished he would go there and leave them 
at liberty to concentrate their attention on 
Nanki Poo's delightful " Too, too, too " without 
interruption. 

Notwithstanding the fact that she had been forcibly 
betrothed to her guardian, Yum- Yum, who at first 
was fascinated by Nanki Poo's performance, ended 
by being fascinated by Nanki Poo himself ; and this 
shows what a sensible girl Yum- Yum was. If a young 
lady is to yield to fascination at ah 1 , it is much wiser 
to begin by being fascinated by a gentleman's 
beautiful work and then transfer her admiration to 
the gentleman who created it, than to begin by being 
fascinated by the gentleman before she knows 
B 5 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

whether he is able to create any beautiful work at all. 
Now Nanki Poo was such a conscientious musician 
that he devoted the whole of his attention to render- 
ing expressively the simple but touching music he 
had to play, and never by any chance did he allow 
his beautiful purple eyes (which exactly matched 
his uniform) to wander from the music paper on 
which his notes were inscribed ; so it came to pass 
that while Yum-Yum was engaged in the act of 
transferring her admiration from his work to himself, 
Nanki Poo was quite unconscious of the effect that 
he had created. But one happy day while the band 
was playing as usual at the end of the pier, a drench- 
ing shower of rain fell and Nanki Poo ran for shelter, 
with several others, under a refreshment pavilion in 
which such attractive delicacies as fried snails and 
scraped shark's fin were sold at a reasonable rate ; 
and there he saw Yum-Yum, who had also sought 
protection from the heavy downpour. Their eyes 
met, and Nanki Poo was quite as much fascinated 
by Yum-Yum as Yum-Yum had, for many weeks 
past, been fascinated by him. From that moment 
his performance on the second trombone perceptibly 
deteriorated. His " Too, too, too " was given care- 
lessly and wandered into several keys, for he was 

6 



THEIR EYES MET 




1 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

always on the look-out for Yum-Yum, and when his 
eyes met hers the three beautiful notes with which 
he was entrusted were scarcely recognizable. The 
First Trombone came into favour with the crowd 
once more, and Nanki Poo's performance ceased to 
be generalty attractive to the audience at large. 
Eventually the Titipu season came to an end, but 
before the Purple Tartarians left for another part of 
the country, Nanki Poo, in the course of another 
obliging shower, contrived to tell Yum-Yum of the 
affection he entertained for her, and I need hardly 
describe her distress when she told him, with many 
sobs and endless tears, not only that she was be- 
trothed, against her will, to be married to her un- 
desirable guardian, but that their marriage was to 
take place in a year's time, as soon as her education 
at her Finishing School was completed. As the whole 
band had to fulfil an engagement at a distant part of 
the country, Nanki Poo and Yum-Yum were neces- 
sarily separated. Yum-Yum returned to school, that 
she might continue her preparations for the Matricu- 
lation Examination at the University of Tokio, and, 
engaged as she was in these absorbing pursuits, she 
had little time to devote to memories of Nanki Poo, 
who eventually passed almost out of her mind. Nanki 

9 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Poo, upon whose sensitive heart Yum- Yum had 
made an indelible impression, had no Matriculation 
Examination to distract his thoughts, and so it 
happened that when his engagement with the Purple 
Tartarians came to an end, he found himself without 
any settled means of gaining a livelihood. So he 
bought a kind of cheap Japanese banjo, as being 
easier to carry than a trombone, and earned a poor 
subsistence by playing and singing at tea houses and 
other places of rest and refreshment. 

Now the Mikado (who after all was a sensible 
monarch in some respects) had issued a decree that 
any persons who were guilty of the vulgar and detest- 
able offence of scribbling their obscure names upon 
Public Monuments should forthwith be beheaded, 
and Nanki Poo, in the course of his travels, learnt to 
his delight, that one of the first to incur this serious 
punishment was Yum-Yum's guardian, Koko, the 
cheap tailor of Titipu, who had written " Try Koko's 
fifteen shilling suits " on a highly venerated statue 
of Buddha, their favourite deity. So Nanki Poo 
packed up his banjo and without a moment's delay 
set off on foot for Titipu in order to claim Yum- 
Yum's hand in marriage, now that she was likely to 
be free to give it to him. 

10 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

The inhabitants of Titipu were greatly agitated at 
the fate that had befallen Koko, not only because it 
brought forcibly to their minds the fact that any one 
of them might be subjected to a similar punishment 
for really insignificant little mistakes such as any of 
us might make in a moment of forgetfulness ; but 
also because the town of Titipu was so entirely free 
from anything like crime that when the late Lord 
High Executioner retired on a pension at the respect- 
able age of ninety-eight, it was not thought worth 
while to appoint a successor. It is true that office 
was the highest dignity that a citizen could attain, 
yet the salary attached to it was so enormous that, 
in the interests of public economy, it was thought 
better to leave it vacant until occasion arose for a 
decapitation, when it would be quite time to fill it 
up. Now, however, the occasion had arisen, and the 
question was, what was to be done ? The Town 
Council of Titipu met several times to consider it, 
and eventually they came to a decision, which was 
that they could not do better than confer the post of 
Lord High Executioner on Koko himself, because, 
as they reasoned very ingeniously : 

(i). All criminals sentenced to death must be 
executed in the order in which they are sentenced. 

II 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

(2). Koko is the next in order to be executed. 

(3) . If we appoint him Lord High Executioner he 
cannot behead anybody else until he has beheaded 
himself. 

(4). But a man cannot behead himself. 

(5). Therefore he can never behead anybody else, 
and we are all quite safe and can do exactly as we 
please, which is an uncommonly jolly state of things. 

So as soon as the Town Council had arrived at 
this sensible decision they commanded the inhabit- 
ants to assemble in the Market Place of Titipu in 
order that Koko, arrayed in his new robes of office, 
might be presented to them. I should state that he 
had already been appointed for several weeks, but 
his robes took a long time to embroider. 

It was a great day for Titipu. Flags were hung out 
everywhere a delicious kind of boiled seaweed was 
served out gratuitously to everyone (there were very 
few, however) who applied for it, an apple and a bun 
were presented to all the Board School children, and 
all the fountains in the city ran with weak tea. Little 
Japanese fireworks, such as you find in crackers at 
Christmas parties, were discharged in all directions, 
and thousands of halfpence were thrown among the 
crowd to be scrambled for. A great dignitary called 

12 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Pooh Bah who, among many other things, was Chair- 
man of the Town Council (and of whom you will 
read a good deal presently), formally introduced 
Koko (who was arrayed in magnificent robes of black 
and gold and carried an enormous sword, six feet 
long, which was his badge of office), and the people 
received him with shouts of ' Banzai, Banzai ! ' 
which is Japanese for " Hip, hip, hurrah," and sang, 
in chorus, the following beautiful lines : 

" Behold the Lord High Executioner 

A personage of noble rank and title ! 
A dignified and potent Officer 

Whose duties are particularly vital. 

Defer defer 
To the Lord High Executioner ! " 

To which Koko replied : 

" Taken from the county jail 

By a set of curious chances, 
Liberated then on bail 

On my own recognizances, 
Wafted by a favouring gale, 

As one sometimes is in trances, 
Surely never had a male 

Under such like circumstances 
So adventurous a tale 

Which may rank with most romances ! " 

Then he made a little speech, which was really an 
echo of one of his trade circulars. 

13 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" Gentlemen, I am much touched by this reception. 
I can only trust that by strict attention to business I 
shall ensure a continuance of those favours which it 
will ever be my study to deserve. In the highly im- 
probable event of my ever being called upon to act 
professionally, I am happy to think that there will be 
no difficulty in finding plenty of people whose deaths 
will be a distinct gain to society at large." And then 
he sang the following song, which he had composed 
that very morning : 

KOKO'S SONG 

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found, 

I've made a little list I've made a little list 
Of inconvenient people who might well be underground, 

For they never would be missed they never would be missed. 
The donkey who of nine-times-six and eight-times-seven prates, 
And stumps you with enquiries on geography and dates. 
And asks for your ideas on spelling " parallelogram," 
All narrow-minded people who are stingy with their jam, 
And the torture-dealing dentist, with the forceps in his fist 
They'd none of them be missed they'd none of them be missed. 

There's the nursemaid who each evening in curl-papers does your 
hair 

With an aggravating twist she never would be missed 
And tells you that you mustn't cough or sneeze or yawn or stare 

She never would be missed I'm sure she'd not be missed. 
All those who hold that children shouldn't have too much to eat, 
And think cold suet pudding a delicious birthday treat, 
Who say that little girls to bed at seven should be sent, 

14 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

And consider pocket money isn't given to be spent, 

And doctors who on giving you unpleasant draughts insist 

They never would be missed, they'd none of them be missed. 

Then the teacher who for hours keeps you practising your scales 

With an ever-aching wrist she never would be missed 
And children, too, who out of school are fond of telling tales 
They never would be missed I'm sure they'd not be missed. 
All people who maintain (in solemn earnest not in joke) 
That quantities of sugar-plums are bad for little folk, 
And those who hold the principle, unalterably fixed, 
That instruction with amusement should most carefully be mixed ; 
All these (and many others) I have placed upon the list, 
For they never would be missed never, never would be missed ! 

Of course this song was only Koko's fun (for he 
was naturally too delighted at his sudden promotion 
from the condition of a convict under sentence of 
death to the exalted position of Lord High Execu- 
tioner to take anything seriously), and it was so 
regarded by his audience, who were not so unfeeling 
as to desire that a severe punishment should be 
inflicted upon people who, after all, were only doing 
a kind of duty in a rather injudicious manner. Well, 
when the people had enjoyed Koko's little joke (the 
Japanese are a simple people who are very easily 
amused), Koko proceeded at once to the palace 
which had been assigned to him as an Official Resi- 
dence, followed by the populace at large. The wealthy 

15 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

but thrifty Pooh Bah, however, remained in the 
Market Place in order to pick up any of the half- 
pence which had been thrown among the crowd and 
which might have escaped their observation. This 
he did partly with the view of humiliating his family 
pride, but principally because his maxim was that, 
as regards a halfpenny, you never could tell when it 
would come in handy. 

Now this Pooh Bah may be described without 
any hesitation as one of the most remarkable char- 
acters in ancient or modern history. He was not a 
clever man he was, in fact, an intolerably conceited 
donkey but he was such a remarkable donkey that 
his very donkeydom entitled him to the affectionate 
respect of his felk>w townsmen as being infinitely 
more remunerative than the very highest form of 
educated intelligence could possibly be. Personally 
I would rather be a very wise man than a stupid, but 
if I couldn't be a very wise man (I have tried and I 
find I can't) I would rather be so stupid as to excite 
wonder and admiration on account of the extra- 
ordinary and exceptional quality of my stupidity. I 
do not mean to suggest that I am right in holding 
this opinion, but if there is one character that I dis- 
like more than another it is that particular kind of 

16 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

average person which I happen to be. Well, Pooh Bah 
was, as I have said, a remarkable character. He got 
it into his thick head that he was the last descendant 
of a family of extraordinary antiquity, and this 
was a matter of which he was so stupid as to be 
inordinately proud. Whenever he saw, or fancied he 
saw, the faintest possible resemblance to himself in 
the personal appearance of any eminent historical 
personage, he at once concluded that that historical 
personage must necessarily be one of his ancestors. 
So he collected all the portraits of dead celebrities 
that he could find, and managed to detect some re- 
semblance to himself in all of the most illustrious of 
them. Thus he worked his way backwards through 
mankind until he had exhausted all the specimens 
he could find, and having done this he fell back upon 
the animal kingdom, and by means of fancied 
resemblances, traced his ancestry through Gorillas, 
Ourang-outangs, Barbary Apes, Capuchin Mon- 
keys, Marmosets, Lemurs, Flying Squirrels, Bats, 
Canary Birds, Butterflies, Moths, Ladybirds, Black 
Beetles, Cheese-Mites, Jelly-fish, Coleoptera, Rotifera, 
Bacteria, Tollolleria, Twaddleria, Nonsenseria, 
Absurderia, Ridiculeria and thousands of other queer 
little creatures whose names I entirely forget (but 

17 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

could easily invent and no one but Sir Edwin Ray 
Lankester, K.C.B., would be the wiser) until he came 
at last to a Protoplasmal Primordial Atomic Globule 
(exactly like him) which he found reclining in great 
state and dignity at the business end of an amazingly 
powerful microscope ; and as fifty million of these 
gentry can be comfortably accommodated on the 
point of a needle, he considered (and I think that in 
this he showed a glimmer of sense) that it would be 
pedantic to pursue his researches any further. His 
Family Tree was quite a curiosity in itself, and I 
wish I could reproduce it here, but as it was about 
fifteen miles long it would make this book too bulky, 
and it's bulky enough already, goodness knows. 

But this was only one phase of his complicated 
character. He was sufficiently intelligent to know 
that it was not only very illogical but extremely 
wrong to be inordinately proud of his long family 
descent (for he had done nothing towards it except 
to be the last of them all, which wasn't much), so he 
virtuously resolved to mortify this family pride at 
every opportunity that presented itself. Conse- 
quently when all the High Officers of State (who 
were aJso very proud people) resigned in a body 
because they would not bring themselves to serve 

18 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 




under a Lord High Executioner who had formerly 
been nothing more than an advertising tailor, Pooh 
Bah unhesitatingly accepted all their offices, to which 
extremely handsome salaries happened to be attached. 
Of course his income from these appointments was 
enormous, but that circumstance was in itself a 
dreadful indignity, because it constituted him a 
salaried minion, and for all salaried minions and 
other people who earned their own living he 

19 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

entertained an unbounded contempt. He was un- 
doubtedly a silly, because what he did was open to 
misconstruction, but in doing it he meant well, and 
moreover it paid. 

As Pooh Bah was busy mortifying his family pride 
by looking for overlooked halfpence, Nanki Poo, 
who had just arrived at Titipu in search of his 
beloved Yum- Yum, accosted him, and I ought to 
explain that it was the rule in Titipu that when 
you addressed a gentleman in prose he had to reply to 
you in prose, but when you addressed him in verse 
he had to reply in verse. So Nanki Poo sang : 

" Good nobleman, I pray you tell me 
Where an enchanting maiden dwelleth 
Who's named Yum- Yum, the ward of Koko ? 
In pity speak Oh, speak, I pray you ! " 

To which Pooh Bah replied : 

" Why, who are you who ask this question ? " 

And Nanki Poo proceeded at once to sing a song 
descriptive of himself a song which he had ready 
because he had often sung it at tea-houses and other 
places of entertainment : 

" A Wandering Minstrel I, 

A thing of shreds and patches, 
Of ballads, songs and snatches 
And dreamy lullaby. 

20 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

My catalogue is long, 

Through every passion ranging, 
And to your humours changing 

I tune my supple song ! 

" Are you in sentimental mood ? 
I'll sigh with you. 

Oh, willow ! willow ! 
On maiden's coldness do you brood ? 
I'll do so too. 

Oh, willow ! willow ! 
I'll charm your willing ears 
With songs of lovers' fears, 
While sympathetic tears 
My cheek bedew, 

Oh, willow ! willow ! " 

(Then he changed the tune.) 

" But if patriotic sentiment is wanted, 

I've patriotic ballads cut and dried, 
For where'er our country's banner may be planted, 

All other local banners are defied. 
Our warriors in serried ranks assembled, 

Never quail or they conceal it if they do ; 
And I shouldn't be surprised if people trembled 

Before the mighty troops of Titipu ! " 

(He sang the verse that follows to a rollicking sea-tune.) 

" And if you call for a song of the sea, 

We'll heave the capstan round, 
With a ' yeo heave oh ! ' for the wind is free, 
Her anchor's a-trip and her helm's a-lee, 

Hurrah for the homeward bound ! 

C 21 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

To lay aloft when it blows and snows 

May tickle a landsman's taste, 
But the happiest hour a sailor knows 
Is when he's down 
At an inland town, 

With his Nancy on his knees, yeo ho ! 
And his arm around her waist ! 

" Then man the capstan off we go, 
As the fiddler swings us round, 
With a ' yeo heave oh ! ' 
And a rumbelow,* 
Hurrah for the homeward bound ! " 

1 That's a very nice song," said Pooh Bah, " but 
it's too long. I was tired of it ever so long before it 
was finished." 

' I'll sing it again with a verse left out, if you like," 
said Nanki Poo, who was anxious to conciliate so 
important a person. 

' Well, try," said he, and Nanki Poo sang it again 
with the sentimental verse omitted. 

" That's much better," said Pooh Bah ; " I was 
not nearly so bored that time. Now try it without 
the patriotic verse." 
And Nanki Poo sang it without the patriotic verse. 

* I have no idea what a " rumbelow " may be. No doubt it is some nautical 
article that is extremely useful on board ship, for it is so often alluded to in sea- 
songs. It seems to hold the same place in a sea-song that the " old plantation " 
does in negro minstrelsy. 

22 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" I quite enjoyed that," said Pooh Bah ; " now 
omit the nautical stanza." 

Nanki Poo did so, though he was getting rather 
tired. 

" That's delightful ! " exclaimed Pooh Bah. " Now 
try it without the introductory verse." 

" But that would leave nothing to sing," said 
Nanki Poo. 

" Exactly my idea of a song ! " said Pooh Bah, 
greatly tickled at the success of his little practical 
joke. " So much obliged to you. And now to business. 
What do you want with Yum- Yum ? ' 

" I'll tell you," said Nanki Poo. " A year ago I 
loved her andl discovered that sheloved me, although 
she was betrothed, entirely against her will, to her 
guardian Koko. As a man of honour, I gave up all 
hope of her and left the town broken-hearted. Judge 
of my delight when I heard, a short time ago, that 
Koko had been condemned to be beheaded for 
defacing a public monument. I hurried back at once 
in the hope of finding Yum-Yum at liberty to listen 
to my protestations." 

" It is quite true," replied Pooh Bah, " that Koko 
was so condemned, but he was reprieved at the last 
moment and raised to the exalted rank of Lord High 

23 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Executioner under the following remarkable cir- 
cumstances : 



" Our great Mikado, virtuous man, 
When he to rule our land began, 

Resolved to try 

A plan whereby 
His people might be steadied, 
So he proclaimed a statute new 
That all misguided people who 
Did anything they shouldn't do 

Should forthwith be beheaded. 

" His stern decree, you'll understand, 
Caused great dismay throughout the land, 

For young and old 

And shy and bold 
Were equally affected : 
The gentleman who snubbed his wife. 
Or ate green peas with blade of knife. 
Was straight condemned to lose his life 

He usually objected. 

"So we released on heavy bail 
This Koko from the county jail 

(Whose head was next 

On good pretext 
Condemned to be mown off), 
And made him headsman, for we said 
' Who's next to be decapitated 
Cannot cut off another's head 

Until he's cut his own off.' 

24 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

And we are right, I think you'll say, 
To argue in this kind of way, 

And I am right, 

And he is right. 
And all is right too looral lay ! " 

" Koko released and appointed Lord High 
Executioner ! " exclaimed Nanki Poo in broken- 
hearted dismay. " Why, that's the highest rank 
citizen can attain ! ' 

" It is," replied Pooh Bah. " Our logical Mikado, 
seeing no moral difference between the dignified 
Judge who condemns a criminal to die and the 
industrious mechanic who carries out the sentence, 
has rolled the two offices into one, and every Judge 
is now his own Executioner." 

" But," said Nanki Poo, who saw the brilliant 
Order of the Potted Geranium sparkling on Pooh 
Bah's bosom, " how good of you, who are evidently 
a Nobleman of the highest rank, to condescend to tell 
all this to me, a mere strolling minstrel ! ' 

" You'd think so indeed if you knew all," replied 
Pooh Bah. " I am, in point of fact, a particu- 
larly haughty and exclusive person of pre-Adamite 
ancestral descent. My family pride is something 
inconceivable ; I'm ashamed of this weakness, but 
I can't help it. I was born sneering. Nevertheless, I 

25 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

struggle hard to overcome this defect. I mortify my 
pride on every possible occasion. When all the officers 
of State resigned in a body because they were too 




proud to serve under a retired tailor, did I not 
unhesitatingly accept all their posts at once ? It is 
consequently my degrading duty to serve this con- 
temptible upstart as First Lord of the Treasury, 
Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High 
Admiral, Master of the Buckhounds, Lord of the 
Bedchamber, Gold Stick in Waiting, Archbishop of 
Titipu, and Lord Mayor, both acting and elect. 

26 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

And at a salary ! In point of fact, at several salaries ! 
A Pooh Bah paid for his services! I, a salaried minion! 
But I do it ! It revolts me, but I do it ! ' 

A great sob rose to Pooh Bah's throat as he stooped 
to pick up a halfpenny, which had hitherto escaped 
his observation. 

" It does you credit," said Nanki Poo, who was 
too simple to see that Pooh Bah was really a very 
contemptible character. 

" But I don't stop at that," continued Pooh Bah ; 
"I dine with middle-class people on reasonable terms. 
I dance at cheap suburban parties for a moderate 
fee. I accept refreshment at any hands, however 
lowly. I also retail State Secrets at a very low figure. 
For instance, any further information about Yum- 
Yum would come under the head of a State Secret." 

Nanki Poo took the hint and gave him the few coins 
in his possession. Pooh Bah (who had been leading up 
to this) flushed purple with shame and humiliation. 

" Another insult ! " said he, weighing the coins 
in his hand, " and, I think, a light one ! ' Never- 
theless, he proceeded to earn his tip by singing the 
following song : 

" Young man, despair, 
Likewise go to, 

27 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Yum-Yum the fair 
You may not woo. 
It will not do, 
I'm sorry for you, 
You very imperfect ablutioner ! * 
This very day 

From school Yum-Yum 
Will wend her way 

And homeward come, 
With beat of drum 
And a rum-tum-tum, 
To wed the Lord High Executioner ! 



" And the brass will crash, 

And the trumpets bray, 
And they'll cut a dash 

On their wedding day. 
From what I say you may infer 
It's as good as a play to him and her ; 
She'll toddle away, as all aver, 
With the Lord High Executioner ! 
It's a hopeless case 

As you may see, 
And, in your place, 
Away I'd flee ; 
But don't blame me, 
I'm sorry to be 

Of your pleasure a diminutioner. 
They'll vow their pact 

Extremely soon, 
In point of fact 

* The Japanese are an extremely clean people, and Pooh Bah was honestly 
shocked to find that Nanki Poo's long march had left its traces on his person. 

28 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

This afternoon 
Her honeymoon 
With that buffoon 
At seven commences, so you shun her ! " 

Nanki Poo was terribly upset by Pooh Bah's news 
about Yum-Yum, and he went away in the most 
disconsolate condition imaginable. Pooh Bah, who 
considered that he had fully earned his tip, resumed 
his search for overlooked halfpence with such in- 
tentness (he had found three) that he did not notice 
the approach of Koko who had to tap him on the 
shoulder to attract his attention. 

" Pooh Bah," said Koko, " I want to consult you 
on a matter of some importance." 

" I am all ears," replied Pooh Bah, which in one 
sense was true enough. 

" It seems that the festivities in connection with 
my approaching marriage with Yum-Yum (who will 
arrive to-day) must last a week. I should like to do 
the thing handsomely, and I want to consult you as 
to the amount I ought to spend upon it." 

" Certainly," said Pooh Bah. " But in which of 
my capacities do you wish to consult me ? As First 
Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chamberlain, Attorney- 
General, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Privy Purse 
or Private Secretary ? ' 

29 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Koko considered for a moment. 

: ' Suppose we say as Private Secretary." 

' Speaking as your Private Secretary I should say 
that, as the city will have to pay for it, don't stint 
yourself do it well." 

" Exactly," said Koko. " As the city will have to 
pay for it. That is your advice ? ' 

"As Private Secretary," said Pooh Bah. "Of 
course you will understand that as Chancellor of 
the Exchequer I am bound to see that due economy 
is observed." 

" Oh," said Koko, rather crestfallen. " But you 
said just now ' don't stint yourself, do it well.' 

" As Private Secretary," replied Pooh Bah. 

" And now you say that due economy must be 
observed." 

" As Chancellor of the Exchequer." 

' I see," said Koko ; " that's awkward." Then an 
idea occurred to him. 

" Come over here, where the Chancellor can't hear 
us," said Koko, leading him round the corner of the 
square. ' Now, as my Solicitor, how do you advise 
me to deal with this difficulty ? " 

" Oh, as your Solicitor," replied Pooh Bah, " I 
should have no hesitation in saying ' chance it.' 

30 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

' Thank you," said Koko, shaking his hand. 
" That settles it I will." 

' If it were not that as Lord Chief Justice I am 
bound to see that the law isn't violated." 

' I see ; that's awkward again. Come over here 
where the Chief Justice cannot hear us," leading 
him down the second turning to the left. " Now, 
then, as First Lord of the Treasury ? ' 

' Of course as First Lord of the Treasury," said 
Pooh Bah, " I could propose a special vote that 
would cover all expenses if it were not that, as Leader 
of the Opposition, it would be my duty to resist it 
tooth and nail. Or as Paymaster-General I could 
so cook the accounts that as Lord High Auditor I 
should never discover the fraud. But then as Arch- 
bishop of Titipu it would be my duty to denounce 
my dishonesty and give myself into my own custody 
as First Commissioner of Police." 

' That's more awkward still," said Koko, quite 
depressed by the many difficulties that were pre- 
sented to him. 

Pooh Bah was not adamant. His gentle heart was 
touched by Koko's embarrassment. 

" I don't say," said Pooh Bah, " that all these 
important people could be squared ; but it is right 

31 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

to tell you that they wouldn't be sufficiently degraded 
in their own estimation unless they were insulted 
by a very considerable bribe." 

Koko was a little relieved. 

' The matter shall have my careful consideration," 
said he, giving him all the money he had about him. 
' But see my beautiful Yum- Yum and her brides- 
maids approach, and any little compliment on your 
part, such as an abject grovel in a characteristic 
Japanese attitude, would be esteemed a favour." 

" No, no," said Pooh Bah, " grovels are extra. 
No money no grovel." And as Koko had no more to 
give him, the grovel had to be dispensed with. 




UM-YUM'S Finishing 
School had broken up for 
the holidays, and Yum-Yum 
was to return at once to Titipu 
to be married, very unwill- 
ingly, to her guardian Koko, 
for whom she had no affection 
whatever. In Japan, as in 
England, a young lady who is 
under age cannot be married without her guardian's 
consent, and as Koko would not consent to her 
marrying anybody but himself, she had to marry him 
if she wanted to be married to anyone at all. 

Yum-Yum, as a bride-that-was-to-be, was natu- 
rally an object of intense interest to all her school- 
fellows, and as she was extremely popular with them 
on account of her amiability and (properly restricted) 
sense of fun, they all begged to be allowed to be her 
bridesmaids. Yum-Yum, who was a most good- 
natured girl, readily assented to this suggestion, so 
the day after breaking-up they all travelled together 

33 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

to Titipu in three long omnibuses, with their luggage 
on the roof, because as she was to be married that 
evening there was necessarily no time to be lost. 

Yum- Yum and her bridesmaids arrived safely at 
Titipu and at once proceeded on foot to the court- 
yard in front of Koko's Official Residence, where he 
was waiting, dressed in his most magnificent clothes, 
to receive them. Moreover he was attended by his 
retinue of nobles, including Pooh Bah, who as Arch- 
bishop of Titipu was to read the marriage ceremony. 

The young ladies entered the courtyard, walking 
two and two, and singing this pretty song : 

" Comes a train of little ladies 

From scholastic trammels free. 
Each a little bit afraid is, 

Wondering what the world can be ! 

" Is it but a world of trouble 

Sadness set to song ? 
Is its beauty but a bubble 
Bound to break ere long ? 

" Are its palaces and pleasures 

Fantasies that fade ? 
And the glories of its treasures 
Shadows of a shade ? " 

As nobody could guess the answer to these riddles, 

34 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Yum-Yum, with her two dearest and most con- 
fidential friends (who were called Peep Bo and Pitti- 
Sing) came to the front and sang the^following trio, 
which had been composed by the school music- 
master for the occasion : 

" Three little maids from school are we, 
Pert as a school-girl well can be, 
Filled to the brim with girlish glee ; 

Three little maids from school ! 
Everything is a source of fun ; 
Nobody's safe, for we care for none ; 
Life is a joke that's just begun ; 

Three little maids from school ! 
Three little maids who all unwary 
Come from a ladies' seminary, 
Freed from its genius tutelary ! 

Three little maids from school ! 
One little maid is a bride Yum-Yum 
Two little maids in attendance come, 
Three little maids is the total sum 
Three little maids from school ! 
From three little maids take one away, 
Two little maids remain, and they 
Won't have to wait very long, they say 

Three little maids from school ! 
Three little maids who all unwary 
Come from a ladies' seminary, 
Freed from its genius tutelary 

Three little maids from school ! " 

Koko was very pleased with their trio, and even 

35 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

the solemn and haughty Pooh Bah was seen to smile. 
But he recollected that a smile was quite inconsistent 
with the dignity of twenty-eight of his most im- 
portant public appointments, and consistent only 
with about three of the humblest of them Court 
Jester, Licenser of Plays, and Editor-in-Chief of 
the Japanese Punch. There was a heavy majority 
against the smile and therefore, being a conscientious 
man, he effaced it at once and resumed his customary 
expression of solemn stupidity. 

Koko came down the steps, with open arms, to 
receive Yum- Yum, who was not a little alarmed at 
this threat of affection. 

' You're not going to kiss me before all these 
people ? " said she. 

" Well," said Koko, " that was the idea." 

Yum- Yum didn't know much about these things, 
for she only knew what was taught in the Finishing 
School, and the Finishing School did not finish them 
quite as far as that. She turned to Peep Bo. 

' It seems odd, doesn't it ? ' whispered Yum- 
Yum. 

" It is rather peculiar," assented Peep Bo. 

" Oh, it's all right," said Pitti-Sing. " Everything 
must have a beginning, you know." 

36 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" Well," replied Yum- Yum, " of course I know 
nothing about these things, but I've no objection if 
it's usual." 

" Oh, it's quite usual, I think," said Koko, who, 
to make quite sure, appealed to Pooh Bah. ' What 
do you say, Lord Chamberlain ? ' 

Now the Lord Chamberlain was the highest 
authority on all points of propriety, and his decision 
in such matters was final, Pooh Bah reflected for a 
moment : 

" I have known it done," said he at last. 

That settled the matter, and Koko kissed Yum- 
Yum on both cheeks, to the infinite amusement of 
all the bridesmaids, who chuckled to each other in a 
rather unladylike manner. 

" Thank goodness that's over ! " said Yum-Yum. 

At this moment the three young ladies caught 
sight of poor Nanki Poo, who had managed to get 
into the courtyard with the crowd in order to have 
one last look at Yum-Yum before losing her for ever. 

Yum-Yum saw him and recognized him at once. 

"Why," said she, running up to him, 'that's 
never you ! ' 

You see at a Finishing School they teach you a 
great many polite accomplishments, but you are not 
D 37 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 




taught grammar 
because you are 
supposed to know 
it before you go 
there, otherwise, 
instead of exclaim- 
ing " that's never 



you 



! " she would 



probably have said : 
" Am I mistaken, 
or do I behold you 
once more ? ' 

The other two 
young ladies (who 
had heard all about 
him from Yum- 
Yum) rushed up to 
him and all three 
began to speak at once, without any stops : 

Yum-Yum said : " Oh I am so glad I haven't seen you for ever 

so long and I'm right at the 
" And have you got an engagement ? Yum- 

Yum's got one but she doesn't like 
" Now tell us all about the news because you go 

about everywhere and we've been 
top of the school and have got three prizes and 

I've come home for good and I'm 

38 



Peep Bo said : 
Pitti-Sing said 
(Yum-Yum) : 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

(Peep Bo) : it and she'd ever so much rather it was you and 

I've come home for good and I'm 

(Pitti-Sing) : at school, but thank goodness that's all over 
now and we've come home for good and we're 

(Yum- Yum) : not going back any more ! 

(Peep Bo) : not going back any more ! 

(Pitti-Sing) not going back any more ! 



You can try if you like to say these three speeches 
at once as the girls did. I should think it was difficult 
because I can't do it myself, and I know that any- 
thing that is too difficult for me to do must be very 
difficult indeed. But there's no reason why you 
shouldn't try especially on a wet day, when you 
can't go out and find it rather dull at home. If you 
can't do it, and I can't do it, it shows that three little 
school-girls put together are cleverer than you and 
I, because they could and did. 

Nanki Poo was deeply touched to find that Yum- 
Yum had borne him in remembrance during the 
year of their separation, and he determined to make 
a final appeal to Koko's commiseration. But just as 
he was about to throw himself at Koko's feet, that 
gentleman, who had been not a little astonished at 
the welcome accorded to Nanki Poo by the three 
young ladies, said to him, rather drily : 

" I beg your pardon. Will you present me ? " 

39 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

"Oh," said all three at once. " This is the gentle- 
man who " 

" One at a time, if you please," said Koko. 

" This," said Yum- Yum, " is the gentleman who 
used to play so beautifully on the on the 

" On the Marine Parade," said Peep Bo. 

" Oh, indeed," said Koko, as he uttered a long 
whistlewithhis pursed-up lips. "I am not acquainted 
with the instrument." 

Nanki Poo could be silent no longer. 

" Sir," said he, "I have the misfortune to love 
your ward Yum-Yum ; she returns my affection and 
is entirely indifferent to yours. Oh, I know I deserve 
your anger, but I 

" Anger ? " said Koko. "Not a bit, my boy. Why, 
I love her myself ! I'm not so unreasonable as to 
quarrel with a man for agreeing with me. Charming 
little girl, isn't she ? Pretty eyes nice hair taking 
little thing, altogether. Very glad to have my opinion 
backed by a competent authority. Thank you very 
much. Good-bye. Pish Tush, run him off." 

And Pish Tush took him by the back of the neck 
with one hand and by the waist with the other and 
ran him out of the courtyard in the most undignified 
manner. 

40 



"PISH TUSH, RUN HIM OFF" 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

In the meantime Yum- Yum, Peep Bo and Pitti- 
Sing had been devoting their attention to Pooh Bah, 
who stood absolutely motionless to express his con- 
temptuous indifference to the impertinent curiosity 
of the young ladies. They had never seen anything 
like him before, and they were not quite sure that 
he wasn't a piece of ingenious waxwork. One of 
them, to make sure, poked him in the ribs with her 
forefinger, which made him jump. 

" It's alive ! " said she, starting back in alarm. 

" Go away, little girls," said Pooh Bah, whose 
dignity was terribly upset by this very unladylike 
action. " Can't talk to little girls like you. Go 
away, there's dears." 

Koko came to the rescue. 

" Pooh Bah, allow me to present my bride-elect. 
It's the one in the middle." 

" What do you want me to do to them ? " said 
Pooh Bah, swelling with outraged importance. 
" Mind, I will not kiss them." 

" No, no," replied Koko. " You shan't kiss them. 
A little bow a mere nothing. You needn't mean it, 
you know." 

" It goes against the grain," said Pooh Bah. " They 
are not young ladies, they are young persons." 

43 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" Come, come," said Koko, " make an effort, 
there's a good nobleman." 

" Well, I shan't mean it," replied Pooh Bah. And, 
comforting himself with this reflection, he made a 
tremendous effort as though he were trying to swallow 
a larger piece of Bath bun than he could conveniently 
manage. 

' How de do, little girls how de do ? " . And then 
he muttered to himself : "Oh, my Protoplasmal 
Ancestor ! ' 

' That's very good," said Koko, encouragingly. 
" That's really capital." 

The three young ladies were very much amused 
at Pooh Bah's absurd pride. They were so ill-bred 
as to chuckle quite out loud, and I don't think much 
of their Finishing School. 

' I see nothing to laugh at," said Pooh Bah, swell- 
ing with importance like an angry turkeycock. " It's 
very painful to me to have to say ' How de do, little 
girls ' to young persons. I'm not in the habit of 
saying ' How de do, little girls ' to anybody under 
the rank of a stockbroker." * 

Koko was distressed at Pooh Bah's evident annoy- 
ance. 

* I don't know why he drew the line at a stockbroker, unless it is that when 
a member of the aristocracy is ruined he generally goes on the Stock Exchange. 

44 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" Don't laugh at him," whispered Koko to the 
girls. " He can't help it he's under treatment for 
it." Then, turning to Pooh Bah, he said : " Never 
mind them ; they don't understand the delicacy of 
your position." 

" We know how delicate it is, don't we ? " said 
Pooh Bah, who was very fierce by this time. 

" I should think we did," said Koko. " How a 
nobleman of your importance can do it at all is a 
thing I never could and never shall understand. 
Come with me and be rude to one of the servants. 
It will help to reconcile you to yourself." 

And off they went together, leaving Yum- Yum, 
Peep Bo and Pitti-Sing laughing heartily at their 
experience of a nobleman of the highest importance. 



45 




OKO and Yum-Yum were to be 
married at sunset, and as the evening 
approached Yum-Yum became very 
sad indeed. Although she was not as 
much interested in Nanki Poo as she 
had been a year ago, nevertheless his 
unexpected return to Titipu on the 
very day of her intended marriage 
with Koko seemed to make her still more unwilling 
to unite herself to a man who was absolutely unin- 
teresting to her. She wandered forth into the shady 
grounds of the Official Residence in order to think 
it over and try to find some means of escaping the 
unpleasant doom that Koko had prepared for her. 

Now Nanki Poo was so absorbed by his distress 
at the prospect of Yum-Yum 's marriage that he kept 
hovering about the Residence all day long. He saw 
Yum-Yum enter the garden and he at once accosted 
her, for he had something to say that he thought 

46 



HE SAW YUM-YUM ENTER THE GARDEN 



^ 




THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

might exercise a powerful influence over her move- 
ments. 

' Yum- Yum," said he, " I'm in a dreadful state 
of mind. I've travelled here night and day for three 
weeks in the belief that your guardian was to be 
beheaded, and now I find that he's reprieved and 
that you are to be married to him this evening ! " 

" Alas, yes ! " said Yum- Yum. 

' But you do not love him ? ' 

" Alas, no ! " 

' Then refuse to be married to him and be married 
to me instead." 

" Impossible," said Yum- Yum. " It is true that I 
do not love Koko, but a wandering minstrel who 
sings and plays outside places of entertainment is 
hardly a fitting husband for the ward of a Lord High 
Executioner." 

Nanki Poo looked right and left to be quite sure 
that they were unobserved, while he made the im- 
portant communication to which I have referred. 

" What," said he in an emphatic whisper, "if it 
should prove that, after all, I am no musician ? ' 

" There ! " said Yum- Yum, " I was certain of it 
directly I heard you play." 

This was sheer nonsense on Yum-Yum's part, 

49 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

for she admired his playing beyond everything, but 
she never could resist an opportunity of being pert. 

" Now do be serious for one moment," said Nanki 

Poo. ' What if it should prove that I am no other 

than the SON OF HIS MAJESTY THE MIKADO ? " 

' The son of the Mikado ! "exclaimed Yum- Yum in 

great amazement. "Theheir to the throne of Japan? " 

"Thatis anotherwayof puttingit/'said Nanki Poo. 

Yum- Yum fell on her knees and hit her forehead 
on the ground three times (but not too hard) to 
express her reverence for the exalted gentleman who 
had courted her. 

' But why is your Highness disguised ? " she ex- 
claimed, " and what has your Highness done ? And 
will your Highness promise never to do it again ? " 

' I'll tell you," said Nanki Poo. ' Some years ago 
I had the misfortune to captivate Kati-sha, an elderly 
lady of my father's Court. She, mistakingmy custom- 
ary politeness for an expression of affection, claimed 
me in marriage. My father, who is extremely strict 
in such matters, ordered me to marry her within a 
week or be beheaded that evening. That evening I 
fled, and, assuming the disguise of a Second Trom- 
bone, I joined the band in which you found me when 
I first had the happiness of seeing you." 

50 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" I see," said Yum-Yum, who was beginning to 

be much impressed by the exalted rank of her suitor. 

' I'll think it over. Go away now and I'll see what 

can be done. But to be quite candid, I don't see how 

I am to get out of it." 

' Is there no hope ? " said Nanki Poo. 

" I'm afraid not," said Yum-Yum. " But, never- 
theless, hope up to a certain point, but don't overdo 
it. Now go, for I hear Koko coming, and if he catches 
me talking to you it will vex him. Good-bye ! ' 

And they rubbed their knees and bent their heads 
at each other, as was usual in Japan when two people 
parted. Nanki Poo leapt over the small boundary 
wall and vanished, while Yum-Yum went into the 
house just as Koko appeared. 

" There she goes," said Koko to himself. " To 
think how entirely my future happiness is wrapped 
up in that little parcel ! Oh, Matrimony ! ' 

He was going on to address a carefully prepared 
speech to Matrimony, when Pooh Bah and Pish 
Tush entered hurriedly. 

" Now then, what is it ? " said Koko. " Can't you 
see that I'm soliloquising ? You have interrupted 
an apostrophe, sir ! ' 

" I beg your Highness's pardon," said Pish Tush, 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" but we are the bearers of a letter from the Mikado." 

" A letter from the Mikado ! " exclaimed Koko. 
" What can it be about ? " 

They all squatted on the ground, and Koko 
pressed the letter to his forehead in token of sub- 
mission before he opened it. 

" Ah, here it is at last," said Koko as he read the 
letter with dismay. " The Mikado is struck by the 
fact that no executions have taken place in the 
province of Toki-Saki for many years, and he decrees 
that unless somebody is beheaded within a month, 
the city of Titipu shall be reduced to the rank of a 
village ! " 

" But that will involve us all in irretrievable ruin! " 
said Pish Tush, who held a quantity of tramway 
shares. 

" Absolute ruin ! " exclaimed Pooh Bah, who as 
Lord High Architect had just accepted a valuable 
contract to build a cathedral. 

" Yes," said Koko, " there's no help for it ; I shall 
have to execute somebody. The only question is, 
who shall it be ? " 

" Well," said Pooh Bah, " it seems unkind to say 
so, but as you're already under sentence of death, 
everything points to you." 

52 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

"That's absurd," said Koko. "It has been already 
decided that a man cannot cut his own head off." 
" A man might try," replied Pooh Bah. 




" Even if you only succeeded in cutting it half off, 
that would be something," said Pish Tush. 

' It would be taken as evidence of your desire to 

comply with the Imperial will," observed Pooh Bah. 

" No," said Koko. " There I am adamant. As 

Lord High Executioner my reputation is at stake, 

and I can't consent to embark on a professional 

operation unless I see my way to a successful result." 

' This professional conscientiousness is highly 

creditable to you," remarked Pooh Bah, "but it 

places us in a very awkward position." 

E 53 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" My good sir," said Koko, a little nettled, " the 
awkwardness of your position is grace itself com- 
pared with that of a man engaged in the act of 
cutting off his own head." 

" I'm afraid," said Pish Tush, " that unless you 
can find a substitute 

" A substitute ! " exclaimed Koko. " The very 
thing ! Thank you very much, Pish Tush. Pooh 
Bah, I appoint you Lord High Substitute." 

Pooh Bah pondered thoughtfully for half a minute. 
He was strongly tempted to accept this new and 
distinguished office, but his better nature prevailed. 

" I should like it above all things," replied Pooh 
Bah. " Such an appointment would realize my 
fondest dreams. But no at any sacrifice I must set 
bounds to my insatiable ambition ! ' 

And he expressed his views in the following 
song : 

" I am so proud, 
' If I allowed 

My family pride 

To be my guide, 

I'd volunteer 

To quit this sphere 

Instead of you 

In a minute or two ; 

54 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

And so 
Although, 

As of course you know, 

I greatly pine 

To brightly shine * 

And take the line 

Of a hero fine, 

With grief condign 

I must decline 

To sit in solemn silence in a dull dark dock 
In a pestilential prison with a life-long lock, 
Awaiting the sensation of a short sharp shock 
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block ' 

Having thus expressed his views, Pooh Bah hastily 
retired (lest, if he remained, he should allow himself 
to be over-persuaded), followed by his faithful sub- 
ordinate. 

Koko was in a terrible state of mind. 

" Here," said he, " am I who allowed myself to 
be respited at the last moment, simply in order to 
benefit my native town, and it is now suggested, by a 
man whom I have laden with honours, that I should 
consent to die within a month ! Is this public grati- 
tude ? Is this " 

At this moment Nanki Poo appeared, with a rope 
in which he was making a large noose. 

* " To brightly shine." This is called a " split infinitive " and is never used 
by well-educated people. But some allowance should be made for a gentleman 
who is extemporising beautiful poetry. 

55 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

' How dare you interrupt ? " said Koko. " Am I 
never to be permitted to soliloquise ? " 

Koko was fond of soliloquising because his medical 
attendant said that contradiction was bad for him as 
it flew to his head, and Koko could rely upon it that 
while he was speaking to himself, nobody could con- 
tradict him. 

" Go on," said Nanki Poo. " Don't mind me." 

' What are you going to do with that rope ? " 
asked Koko. 

' I am about," said Nanki Poo, " to terminate an 
unendurable existence." 

" No, no, don't do that," exclaimed Koko, who 
was really a humane man. " This is horrible ! Why 
you wicked, wicked man, are you aware that in taking 
your life you are committing a crime at which society 
revolts a crime of the most disgraceful and in- 
human character which which ' 

And Koko paused for a moment, for a most in- 
genious idea had just occurred to him. 

" WeU ? " said Nanki Poo, '"a crime of the most 
disgraceful and inhuman character.' Go on." 

And Koko, trembling in every limb at the bare 
thought of the proposal that he was about to make, 
whispered : 

56 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

' Is it absolutely certain that you are resolved to 
die ? " 

" Absolutely," said Nanki Poo, attaching the rope 
to a bough of a tree. 

' Will nothing shake your resolution ? ' 

" Nothing ! " 

' Threats, entreaties, prayers all useless ? ' 

' Quite. My mind is made up." 

' Then," said Koko, " if you really mean what 
you say, and if nothing whatever will shake your 
determination, don't spoil yourself by committing 
suicide, but be beheaded handsomely at the hands 
of the Public Executioner." 

' I don't see how that would help me," said Nanki 
Poo. 

" You don't ? " replied Koko. " Observe. You'll 
have a month to live, and you'll live like a fighting- 
cock at my expense. When the day arrives there'll 
be a grand public ceremonial you'll be the central 
figure no one will even attempt to deprive you of 
that distinction. There'll be a procession, bands, 
Dead March, bells tolling, all the girls in tears, Yum- 
Yum distracted then, when it's all over, general 
rejoicings and a display of fireworks in the evening ! 
Yowwon't see them,but they'll be there all the same." 

57 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Nanki Poo was touched by the thought that Yum- 
Yum would mourn for him. 

' Do you think," said he, " that Yum- Yum would 
really be distracted ? " 

' I'm convinced of it. Bless you, she's the most 
tender-hearted little creature alive." 

"I should be sorry to cause her pain, "replied Nanki 
Poo. " Perhaps after all, if I were to travel in Europe 
for a couple of years, I might contrive to forget her." 

" Oh, I don't think you could do that," said Koko 
hastily. " Life without Yum- Yum why, it seems 
absurd ! " 

' I'll tell you how we'll manage it," replied Nanki 
Poo. " Let me marry Yum- Yum to-morrow and in 
a month you may behead me." 

" No, no," said Koko, " I draw the line at Yum- 
Yum." 

' Very good," said Nanki Poo. " If you can draw 
the line, so can I." 

And he proceeded to illustrate his meaning by 
slipping the noose over his head. 

" Stop ! Stop ! " exclaimed Koko, terrified lest 
he should carry out his threat. " How can I consent 
to your marrying Yum- Yum when I'm engaged to 
marry her myself ? " 

58 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

' She'll be a widow in a month," replied Nanki 
Poo, " and you can marry her then." 

" That's true, of course," said Koko ; " but, dear 
me my position during the next month will be most 
unpleasant." 

" Not nearly so unpleasant as my position at the 
end of it," replied Nanki Poo. 

' Well," said Koko, " I agree. I reluctantly agree. 
After all it's only putting off my wedding for a few 
weeks." 

" That's all ! " said Nanki Poo. 

"But you won't prejudice her against me, will you? 
Youseel've educated her tobe my wife and I've taught 
her to believe that I am a good and wise man. Now I 
shouldn't like her views on that point disturbed." 

" Trust me," said Nanki Poo, " she shall never 
know the truth from me." 

' Treat her well," continued Koko. " She likes a 
poached egg for breakfast, half a dozen oysters for 
lunch, and some warm barley water with a rusk at 
night. She has, also, a girlish fondness for hardbake." 

" She shall have them all," said Nanki Poo. 

' Then that's settled," replied Koko, who, never- 
theless, was not at all pleased with his bargain. But 
some people are never satisfied. 

59 




OW this is a most important 
chapter. 

Pooh Bah and his faithful at- 
tendant, Pish Tush, lost no time 
in making known the serious news 
that the Mikado had announced that someone must 
be beheaded within a month or Titipu would be 
reduced to the rank of a village. As nearly all the 
inhabitants possessed property in Titipu to a 
greater or less extent, they were all keenly interested 
in the prosperity of the city, which would be hope- 
lessly ruined if it were deprived of its Municipal 
privileges. Moreover the province of Toki-Saki, of 
which it was the capital, would be forfeited to the 
Mikado as a district which had no seat of government 
from which it could be controlled. Altogether, it 
was a very serious state of things, and so, as soon as 
Koko had come to a more or less satisfactory under- 
standing with Nanki Poo, he summoned all the 
principal inhabitants to meet him in the Market Place 
at ten o'clock the next day, that he might relieve 

60 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

their minds by telling them what he proposed 
to do. 

At the appointed hour, when all the inhabitants 
had assembled except the newly-born babies and 
persons over ninety years of age who were left to 
take care of them, Koko mounted a kind of pulpit in 
which the auctioneer who sold cattle usually stood. 
He was received with the following chorus : 

" What are you going to do, good sir, 

Come tell us quickly pray 
The programme rests with you, good sir, 
And must be settled to-day. 

" Are you going to cut off your head, good sir, 

Or does anyone, right away, 
Consent to be killed in your stead, good sir ? 
Come tell us quickly, pray." 

Then Pooh Bah exclaimed : 

" To ask you what you mean to do we punctually appear." 

And Koko, unwilling to keep them for a moment 
in unnecessary suspense, replied : 

" Congratulate me, gentlemen, I've found a volunteer ! " 

To which the crowd, greatly relieved, shouted with 
one voice the Japanese equivalent for 

" Hear, hear, hear ! " 

61 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Then Koko led Nanki Poo forward and introduced 
him to the populace, exclaiming : 

" Tis Nanki Poo 

I think will do ? 

He yields his life if I'll Yum- Yum surrender ; 
Now I adore that girl with passion tender, 
And could not yield her with a ready will 

If I did not 
Adore myself with passion tenderer still ! " 

Then they all shouted : 

" How sad his lot," 
" He loves himself with passion tenderer still ! " 

Thereupon Koko handed Yum-Yum to Nanki 
Poo. They embraced rapturously, and Pooh Bah, 
who among many other things was Lord High Toast 
Master, addressed Nanki Poo in the following taste- 
ful lines : 

" As in a month you've got to die 

If Koko tells us true, 
'Twere empty compliment to cry 

' Long life to Nanki Poo ! ' 
But as till this day month you'll live 

As fellow citizen, 
This toast with three times three we'll give 

' Long life to you till then ! ' 

May all good fortune prosper you, 
May you have health and riches too. 
May you succeed in all you do 
Long life to you till then ! " 

62 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

The people took up the refrain of the toast (that is 
to say, the last four lines) and shouted them with all 
their might and main. To express the joy with which 
they heard the good news, they instantly broke into 
a wild dance, but as the figures had not been arranged 
and practised, each danced the dance he knew best, 
and consequently there was a good deal of bumping 
against each other and tumbling down ; but they 
meant well. 

Among the crowd was one mysteriously veiled 
lady who listened quietly to all that went on, but 
was conspicuous from the fact that she alone took 
no part in the rejoicings. She was a good deal knocked 
about during the wild dance that I have described, 
and when she had had enough (which was very soon) 
she threw off her veil and exclaimed : 

" Your revels cease assist me all of you ! 
I claim my perjured lover, Nanki Poo ! " 

The mysterious lady was no other than the plain and 
elderly Kati-sha, the lady to whom Nanki Poo (as 
we may still call him) had paid some innocent 
attentions and whom his arbitrary and dictatorial 
father, the Mikado, had ordered him to marry on 
pain of instant death if he declined to do so ! With 

63 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

the assistance of a strong and capable band of private 
detectives she had traced him diligently through his 
complicated wanderings until she tracked him down 
to Titipu, where she arrived just as his marriage to 
Yum- Yum had been satisfactorily arranged. It was 
most awkward for everybody, and everybody won- 
dered what would happen next. Nanki Poo looked 
particularly foolish. 

Kati-sha prided herself, not without reason, upon 
her powers of unpleasant declamation. As soon as 
she had enjoyed the confusion and dismay that 
followed her startling announcement, she advanced 
to Nanki Poo and addressed him in these scornful 
terms : 

" Oh fool, that fleest 

My hallowed joys ! 
Oh blind, that seest 
No equipoise ! * 
Oh rash, that judgest 

From half the whole ! 
Oh base, that judgest 
Love's lightest dole ! 
Thy heart unbind, 
Oh fool, oh blind ! 
Give me my place, 
Oh rash, oh base ! " 

* I fancy that she meant by this that Nanki Poo was so short-sighted as not 
to perceive that her moral and social qualities were an adequate compensation 
for the drawbacks of advanced age and damaged personal appearance. But 
when people lapse into poetry you never can be quite sure what they mean. 

6 4 



"I CLAIM MY PERJURED LOVER, NANKI POO" 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Having completely withered Nanki Poo with these 
pleasant little remarks, she next turned her attention 
to poor trembling little Yum-Yum, and proceeded 
to give her a bit of her mind. 

" Pink cheek that rulest 

Where Wisdom serves ! 
Bright eye that foolest 

Steel-tempered nerves ! 
Rose-lip that scornest 
Lore-laden years ! 
Sweet tongue that warnest 
Who rightly hears. 
Thy doom is nigh, 
Pink cheek, bright eye ! 
Thy knell is rung, 
Rose-lip, sweet tongue." 

This was too bad of Kati-sha. In the first place, 
she ought to have remembered that, after all, it was 
no fault of Yum-Yum's, and, in the second, that in 
addressing an inexperienced girl, fresh from school, 
she ought to express herself in simple terms, if she 
wished her meaning to be understood. 

" Pink cheek that rulest 

Where Wisdom serves." 

I suppose she meant that she, Kati-sha, was the 
embodiment of Wisdom, but I don't see how she 

67 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" served " except as an example to be avoided. But 
she was in a tearing rage at the time, and I suppose 

that this must be taken 
into consideration in 
criticizing her remarks. 
Now Pitti-Sing and 
her school-fellows had 
>come all the way to 
Titipu to act as brides- 
maids at Yum-Yum's 
wedding, and although 
Yum- Yum was not go- 
ing to be married to 
Koko (just yet) still she 
was going to be married, 
and they did not intend 
to allow their fun to be 
stopped for any elderly 
lady, however import- 
ant shemight think her- 
self. So, having plenty 

of assurance of a modest description, Pitti-Sing went 
up to Kati-sha (who was trying to remember whether 
she had said anything unladylike in her rage), and 
addressed her as follows : 

68 




THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" Away, nor prosecute your quest. 
From our intention well expressed 

You cannot turn us. 
The state of your connubial views 
Towards the person you accuse 

Does not concern us ! 

" For he's going to marry Yum- Yum Yum- Yum ! 
Your anger pray bury 
For all will be merry, 
I think you had better succumb cumb-cumb, 

And join our expressions of glee. 
On this subject I pray you be dumb dumb dumb ; 
You'll find there are many 
Who'd wed for a penny,* 

The word for your guidance is ' mum mum mum ' ; 
There's lots of good fish in the sea ! " 

And all the other bridesmaids took up the chorus : 

" The word for your guidance is ' mum mum mum ' ; 
There's lots of good fish in the sea ! " 

All this was very bad taste on Pitti-Sing's part, 
and I don't see how her conduct is to be defended. 
It is most unbecoming for a mere school-girl to 
address an elderly lady, however plain, in words of 
ridicule and contempt. She might have expressed 
her meaning in becoming terms without in any way 
weakening its effect. 

Kati-sha, who was too proud to take notice of the 

* Cheap, considering all things. 
F 69 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

impertinence of a mere chit of a school-girl, directed 
her next remark to Nanki Poo, who looked as foolish 
as a young man could look at this public and unex- 
pected claim upon his affections. He and Yum-Yum 
knelt at her feet to implore her forgiveness, but in 
vain. She exclaimed : 

" Oh, faithless one, this insult you shall rue ! 
In vain for mercy on your knees you sue 

I'll tear the mask from your disguising, 
Prepare yourselves for news surprising 

(addressing the crowd) 

No minstrel he, despite bravado ! 
He is the son of your " 

Now an ingenious idea had occurred to Yum- 
Yum. She had anticipated the probability that Kati- 
sha would endeavour to frustrate Koko's intentions 
to let Yum-Yum marry Nanki-Poo, by revealing the 
fact that he was the son of their monarch, and she 
had arranged with her school-fellows that if Kati-sha 
attempted anything of the kind they would drown 
her voice by making just such a clattering uproar as 
you might expect from three dozen school-girls 
all talking at once at the top of their voices. So when 
Kati-sha uttered the words : 

" No minstrel he, despite bravado ! 
He is the son of your " 

70 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

they all shouted the last words of a humorous song 
that had been sung by them at their breaking-up : 

" O ni ! bikkuri shakkuri to ! 
O sa, bikkuri shakkuri to ! " 

Kati-sha, who detected their intention, replied : 

" In vain you interrupt with this tornado ! 
He is the only son of your 

and again the girls shouted : 

" O ni, bikkuri shakkuri to ! 
O sa, bikkuri shakkuri to ! " 

But Kati-sha was not to be put down by clamour. 
She resumed : 

" You little jades, I'll spoil " 



By this time the crowd had entered into the fun 
of the thing, and two thousand voices shouted : 

" O ni ! bikkuri shakkuri to ! " 

Kati-sha continued : 

your gay gambado 



He is the eldest son- 



Again the crowd shouted : 

" O ni ! bikkuri shakkuri to ! " 
71 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Kati-sha again tried to get a word in : 

" of your " 

Once more the crowd yelled : 

" O ni ! bikkuri shakkuri to ! " 

and at the same time Koko's brass band played the 
National Anthem in double time, and in all the keys 
from A to G. 

Kati-sha was exhausted, and moreover she saw 
that there was not the remotest chance of making 
her meaning clear to them,* so she resolved that she 
would hasten at once to the Mikado and explain her 
wrongs to one who was so much more patient than 
his subjects that he never was known to interrupt a 
lady who had a grievance to lay before him, however 
elderly and plain she might be. But before going she 
fired this parting shot : 

" Ye torrents roar, 

Ye tempests howl, 
Your wrath outpour 

With angry growl, 

Do ye your worst my vengeance-call 
Shall rise triumphant over all ! 

I should have thought that as it was quite clear that the " missing word " 
rhymed with " bravado," " tornado," and " gamado," the crowd might have 
guessed that it was " Mikado." But people who are quite intelligent as indi- 
viduals are sometimes extraordinarily dense when they are acting in a mob. 
This is the only way in which I can explain it. 

72 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" Prepare for woe, 

Ye haughty lords ! 
At once I go 

Mikado- wards. 

And when he learns his son is found 
My wrongs with vengeance will be crowned ! " 

But as she uttered the last lines the crowd again 
shouted : 

" O ni ! bikkuri shakkuri to ! " 

and poor Kati-sha had to give it up as a bad job and 
hurry off as fast as possible to explain the situation 
to her revered monarch. 



73 




HE very next day Yum-Yum was to be 
married to Nanki Poo. Their wedded 
life was only to last a month (for at the 
end of that time Nanki Poo was to be 
beheaded), but it was going to be such 
a happy month that the close of it 
seemed to be an immensely long way off and conse- 
quently hardly worth considering. That is the way 
with young and foolish people who live only for the 
present and think it is time enough to consider how 
they will deal with a day of difficulty when that day 
arrives. 

That morning Yum-Yum was occupied a long 
time at her toilette. She naturally wanted to look to 
the best advantage, but as her three dozen brides- 
maids had come to help her to do her hair, and as 
each bridesmaid had her own idea as to how hair 
should be done, and moreover as each in succession 

74 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

undid what her immediate predecessor had done and 
did it again in her own way, the process became 
rather tiresome. Eventually, however, Yum- Yum, 
whose policy it was to conciliate everyone, allowed 
each bridesmaid to do a little bit, so the result bore 
the same relation to an ordinary head of hair that a 
fruit salad does to each of the individual delicacies 
of which it is compounded. Then it became neces- 
sary to touch up Yum-Yum's cheeks and lips with a 
little colour, for Japanese young ladies consider this 
to be quite correct, although English ladies would 
rather look as yellow as frogs than consent to do any- 
thing so shocking. 

As the bridesmaids titivated Yum-Yum's head 
and face they sang the following appropriate verses : 

" Braid the raven hair, 

Weave the supple tress, 
Deck the maiden fair 
In her loveliness. 
Paint the pretty face. 
Dye the coral lip, 
Emphasise the grace 

Of her ladyship ! 
Art and nature thus allied 
Go to make a pretty bride." 

Then Pitti-Sing proceeded to give her a bit of 

75 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

advice, founded upon what would have been her 
experience if she had had any : 

" Sit with downcast eye, 

Let it brim with dew, 
Try if you can cry 

We will do so too. 
When you're summoned, start 

Like a frightened roe, 
Flutter, little heart, 

Colour come and go ! * 
Modesty at marriage tide 
Well becomes a pretty bride ! " f 

By the time they had finished their singing, Yum- 
Yum's toilet was completed, and all the bridesmaids 
withdrew to their respective apartments with the 
view of putting a few finishing touches to their own 
impudent little faces, except Pitti-Sing and Peep Bo, 
who shared Yum-Yum's room. 

' Yes," said Yum- Yum, admiring herself in a 
mirror, " I am indeed beautiful ! Sometimes I sit 
and wonder in my artless Japanese way why it is 
that I am so much more attractive than anybody else 
in the whole world ? Can this be vanity ? No ! Nature 
is lovely and rejoices in her loveliness. I am a child 
of Nature, and I take after my mother." 

* This must have taken a bit of doing, as her colour was laid on as thick as 
cardboard. 

t I'm afraid that Pitti-Sing was a bit of a sly-boots 

7 6 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

This was, of course, all very wrong. Yum-Yum 
was a good-looking girl, but not nearly as lovely as 
she believed herself to be. Her absurd conceit came 
of her ridiculously exaggerated first name (" The 
full moon of delight which sheds," etc.), which, 
though she quite forgot it, was conferred upon her 
by her sanguine parents when she had no more 
features than a lump of putty. 

However, entertaining that opinion of herself, 
one is scarcely surprised that she should have em- 
bodied it in detail in the following song : 

THE SUN AND MOON 
" The sun, whose rays 
Are all ablaze 

With ever living glory, 
Does not deny 
His Majesty 

He scorns to tell a story. 
He don't * exclaim 
' I blush for shame, 

So kindly be indulgent,' 
But fierce and bold 
In fiery gold 

He glories all effulgent ! 

I mean to rule the earth 

As he the sky 
We really know our worth, 
The sun and I ! 

* " Doesn't " would have been better, but it wouldn't have fitted the metre 
and in poetry the metre is paramount. 

77 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" Observe his flame, 
That placid dame, 

The Moon's Celestial Highness ; 
There's not a trace 
Upon her face 

Of diffidence or shyness : 
She borrows light 
That, through the night 

Mankind may all acclaim her ; 
And, truth to tell, 
She lights up well, 

So I, for one, don't blame her. 
Ah, pray make no mistake, 

We are not shy ; 
We're very wide awake, 
The Moon and I ! " 

' Yes," said Pitti-Sing, who had heard the song 
before, and was so ill-mannered as to yawn several 
times during its delivery, " we'll take it that every- 
thing smiles upon you, and of course you're about 
the happiest girl in all Japan, so that's settled." 

' The happiest girl indeed," said Peep Bo, " for 
you have attained happiness in all but perfection." 
' In all but perfection ? " replied Yum- Yum, who 
did not quite approve of this saving clause. 

" Well, dear," said Peep Bo, " it can't be denied 
that your husband having to be beheaded is, in its 
way, a drawback." 
Yum-Yum began to cry. 

78 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

' I think it is very indelicate of you," said she, " to 
refer to such a subject on such a day. If my married 
happiness is to be to be " 

' ' Cut short, ' ' suggested Pitti-Sing, rather spitefully. 

' Well, cut short in a month, can't you let me 
forget it ? " 

And the poor girl would have burst into a flood 
of tears if Nanki Poo had not fortunately arrived at 
that very moment to see whether his bride was ready. 
I say " fortunately " because, if she had really had 
time to burst into a flood of tears, she would have 
had to be made up all over again. 

Nanki Poo was surprised to find Yum- Yum in 
such a state of agitation. 

" Yum-Yum ! Why, what's the matter ? " 

" They've been reminding me that (sob) in a 
month (sob) you're to be beheaded ! ' 

The same idea had occurred to Nanki Poo. It was 
disconcerting, of course, but he tried to make the 
best of it. 

" A month ? " said he. " Well, what's a month ? 
Nonsense. These divisions of time are purely arbitrary. 
Who says that twenty-four hours make a day ? ' 

" There's a popular impression to that effect," 
replied Peep Bo, sobbing. 

79 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" Then we'll efface it," said Nanki Poo. " We'll 
call each second a minute, each minute an hour, each 
hour a day and each day a year. At that rate, we've 
about thirty years of married happiness before us ! ' 

" And at that rate this interview has already lasted 
four hours and a quarter," observed Pitti-Sing. 
' How time flies when one is thoroughly enjoying 
one's self ! " 

Notwithstanding their expressions of content they 
were all, including Nanki Poo, a little upset at the 
rather dismal prospect before them. So to cheer 
themselves up they sang what is called a " glee," 
and a glee is generally as doleful a piece of music as 
you'd find in a long summer's day's march. 

This is the glee that they selected for the purpose 
of raising their spirits : 

" Brightly dawns our wedding day ; 

Joyous hour, we give thee greeting ! 
Whither, whither art thou fleeting ? 
Fickle moment, prithee stay ! 

What though mortal joys be hollow ? 
Pleasures come, if sorrows follow : 
Though the tocsin sound ere long, 

Ding dong ! Ding dong ! 
Yet until the shadows fall 
Over one and over all. 
Sing a merry madrigal 
A madrigal ! 

80 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" Let us dry the ready tear ; 

Though the hours are surely creeping. 
Little need for woeful weeping 
Till the sad sundown is near. 

All must sip the cup of sorrow 
I to-day and thou to-morrow ; 
This the close of every song, 

Ding dong ! Ding dong ! 
What though solemn shadows fall 
Over one and over all, 
Sing a merry madrigal 
A madrigal !'" 



By this time they had reduced themselves to ithe 
lowest depths of depression, and Yum-Yum's two 
bridesmaids found it absolutely necessary to retire 
in order to restore the ravages which their emotion 
had worked upon their complexions. 

Yum- Yum and Nanki Poo tried to console each 
other, but with indifferent success. At this point 
Koko arrived, also in the lowest possible spirits. He 
sat down and sighed so heavily that Yum- Yum and 
Nanki Poo quite forgot their own anxieties in their 
sympathy with poor Koko's obvious distress. 

" Come, come," said kind-hearted Yum- Yum. 
" After all, it's only for a month. At the end of the 
month you and I will be married as originally 
arranged." 

81 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" No," said Koko. " It's useless to deceive oneself 
with false hopes." 

" What do you mean ? " exclaimed the two lovers 
in a breath. 

' My child my poor child," replied Koko " my 
little bride that was to have been ! ' 

" Was to have been ? " said Yum- Yum. " What 
in the world do you mean ? ' 

' I mean that you and I can never be each other's. 
I've just ascertained that by the Mikado's law, when 
a married man is beheaded, his wife is buried alive ! " 

" Buried alive ! " exclaimed the lovers, again in 
one breath. 

" Buried alive," repeated Koko. " It's a most 
uncomfortable death." 

" But who told you that ? " asked Nanki Poo, in 
great agitation. 

" Oh, I got it from Pooh Bah. He's my solicitor." 

" But he may be mistaken ! " said poor little 
Yum- Yum. 

" So I thought," replied Koko, " so I consulted the 
Lord Chief Justice, the Attorney-General, the Master 
of the Rolls, the Judge Ordinary, and the Lord 
Chancellor. They're all of the same opinion. Never 
knew such unanimity on a point of law in my life ! " 

82 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

As Pooh Bah filled all these offices, the unanimity 
of opinion was, perhaps, not so remarkable as at 
first sight it appeared to be. 

Yum- Yum and Nanki Poo were terribly discon- 
certed at this melancholy piece of news. She thought 
for a few moments, and then, taking Nanki Poo's 
hand in hers, she said : 

" Darling ! I don't want to appear selfish, and I 
love you with all my heart. I don't suppose I shall 
ever love anybody else half as much as I love you. 
But when I agreed to marry you (my own) I had no 
idea (pet) that I should have to be buried alive in a 
month ! " 

" Nor I," replied Nanki Poo. " It's the very first 
I've heard of it ! " 

" It it does make a difference, doesn't it ? ' 

' It does make a difference, of course," said Nanki 
Poo. 

" You see burial alive it's such a stuffy death ! 
You appreciate my difficulty, don't you ? ' 

" Yes," said Nanki Poo, " and I appreciate my 
own. If I insist on your carrying out your promise I 
doom you to a hideous death ; if I release you, I am 
beheaded, and Koko marries you directly after- 
wards ! ' 

83 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Koko listened to this little conversation with great 
interest, for if Yum- Yum declined to marry Nanki 
Poo, that poor young man would have to be beheaded 
in accordance with his contract, for Koko only con- 
sented to allow him to marry Yum-Yum ; he didn't 
undertake to compel Yum-Yum to consent to the 
marriage. Everything was at a deadlock, so they did 
as most persons, I suppose, would do under similar 
circumstances they joined in a trio. 

Yum-Yum sang : 

" Here's a how-de-do ! 

If I marry you. 

When your time has come to perish, 
Then the maiden whom you cherish 

Must be buried too ! 

Here's a how-de-do ! " 

Nanki Poo sang : 

" Here's a pretty mess ! 

In a month or less 
I must die without a wedding ! 
Let the bitter tears I'm shedding 

Witness my distress. 

Here's a pretty mess ! " 

And Koko sang : 

" Here's a state of things ! 

To her life she clings : 
Matrimonial devotion 
Doesn't seem to suit her notion 

Burial it brings. 

Here's a state of things ! " 

84 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

Koko's tender heart was touched by Nanki Poo's 
distress. 

"My dear Nanki," said he, 'I can't conceive 
anything more distressing than to have one'smarriage 
broken off at the last moment. But cheer up you 
shan't be disappointed of a wedding you shall come 
to mine." 

This was handsome of Koko and Nanki Poo felt 
it, though he didn't intend to accept the invitation. 

" It's awfully kind of you," said he, " but that's 
impossible. I intend to die to-day." 

"What do you mean? " asked Koko in great 
alarm. " You needn't die for a month ! ' 

" I can't live without Yum- Yum. This afternoon 
I perform the Happy Despatch ! " * And he drew 
the large and glistening knife which Japanese gentle- 
men always carry about them for this particular 
purpose. 

" No, no," said Koko, very decidedly. ' I can't 
permit that. You are under contract to die by the 
hands of the Public Executioner in a month's time. 
If you kill yourself, what's to become of me ? ' 

* The "Happy Despatch" is the reassuring name given by the gentle 
Japanese to the painful operation of cutting oneself open. Suicide used to be 
extremely popular with these sensible people. If a gentleman left home and 
found that he had forgotten his umbrella, he would say, " Oh, I can't be bothered 
to go back and fetch it, so here goes ! " and off he popped. 

G 85 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

I don't know how they would have settled this 
difficult question if Pooh Bah had not rushed in 
just at that moment, in a state of great agitation. 




' Now then, Lord Mayor," said Koko, " what is 
it? " 

' The Mikado and his suite are approaching the 
city and will be here in ten minutes ! " 

86- 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" The Mikado ! " exclaimed Koko. " This is too 
awful ! " Then, addressing Nanki Poo, he said : 

" Now look here, you know this is getting serious. 
A bargain's a bargain, and you really mustn't defeat 
the ends of justice by committingsuicide. As a man of 
honour and a gentleman you are bound to die igno- 
miniously at the hands of the Public Executioner." 

" Very well, then," said Nanki Poo, handing him 
a sharp sword, " behead me." 

" What, now ? " said Koko, much disconcerted. 

" Certainly," said Nanki Poo, " at once." 

" My good sir," stammered Koko, " I don't go 
about prepared to execute gentlemen at a moment's 
notice. Why, I never even killed a blue-bottle ! ' 

"Still," interposed Pooh Bah, "as Lord High 
Executioner 

" My good sir," replied Koko, " as Lord High 
Executioner I've got to behead him in a month. I'm 
not ready yet. I don't know how it's done. I'm going 
to take lessons. I mean to begin with a guinea-pig 
and work my way up through the animal kingdom 
till I come to a Second Trombone. I cant kill you. 
I can't kill anything ! " 

And poor Koko fairly sobbed in his distress. 

" Come, come, my poor fellow," said Nanki Poo, 

87 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

"we all have disagreeable duties to discharge at times. 
After all, what is it ? If I don't mind, why should 
you ? Remember, sooner or later it must be done ! ' 

A brilliant idea suddenly occurred to Koko. 

" Must it?" said he. "I'm not so sure about that ! " 

" What do you mean ? " said Nanki Poo, Yum- 
Yum and Pooh Bah all at once. 

" Why should I kill you when making an affidavit 
that you've been executed will do just as well ? Here 
are plenty of witnesses the Lord Chief Justice, 
Commander-in-Chief, the Lord High Admiral, the 
Home Secretary, First Lord of the Treasury, and 
Commissioner of Police. They'll all swear to it (then 
turning to Pooh Bah), won't you ? ' 

Pooh Bah boiled over with indignation at the mere 
suggestion that the various characters of which he 
was composed would lend themselves to such an 
unpardonable deception. 

" Am I to understand," said he loftily, " that all 
of us High Officers of State are required to perjure 
ourselves to secure the safety of an ex-tailor ? ' 

" Why not ? " said Koko. " You'll be grossly in- 
sulted as usual." 

Pooh Bah considered for a moment. 

"Will the insult be cash down or at a date?"saidhe. 

88 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

' It will be a ready money transaction," replied 
Koko, handing him a large bag of gold. 

' Well, it will be a useful discipline," said Pooh 
Bah, who saw in this arrangement a fresh method of 
humiliating his overweening arrogance. ' Choose 
your fiction and I'll endorse it." Then he exclaimed 
in a whisper : ' Ha ha, Family Pride, how do you 
like that, my buck ? ' 

" But," interposed Nanki Poo, " I tell you that 
life without Yum- Yum is insupportable." 

' Bother Yum- Yum. I'm sick of the girl," ex- 
claimed Koko. " Here," said he, " take Yum- Yum 
and marry Yum- Yum, only go away and never come 
back again ! Yum- Yum have you five minutes to 
spare ? Then go along with his Grace the Arch- 
bishop of Titipu he'll marry you to Nanki Poo at 



once." 



:< But if I'm to be buried alive ? " said Yum- Yum, 
not unnaturally. 

" Now don't ask any questions, but do as I tell you 
and Nanki Poo will explain all ! ' 

And Yum- Yum went off to be married to Nanki 
Poo, who told her that Koko had ingeniously (but 
deceptively) arranged that no one should really be 
beheaded at all. 

89 




ATI-SHA, in accordance 
with her threat, had gone 
straight to the Mikado, who 
was on abeheading tourabout 
fifteen miles away, and re- 
ported to him that by the 
aid of her army of private 
detectives she had succeeded 
in discovering that his long-lost heir was hiding in 
Titipu, effectively disguised, now as a wandering min- 
strel, but formerly as the Second Trombone of the 
Purple Tartarian Band. The (more or less) excellent 
monarch, who did not care very much for his son, was 
particularly fondofgettingatthe bottom of amystery, 
so he gave orders that his retinue were to accompany 
him at once to Titipu. Accordingly His Majesty, with 
Kati-sha and a brilliant staff, set forth the next 
morning and arrived at Titipu in the afternoon, to 
the great consternation of all the inhabitants and 
particularly of Koko, who had never expected to be 
brought face to face, so soon after his appointment 

90 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

as Lord High Executioner, with a monarch who 
regarded decapitation as a cheap and ready cure for 
all social and political evils. 

The inhabitants put on their very best clothes, 
and at the same time assumed an expression of 
virtuous industry which they hoped would have the 
effect of mollifying their beloved but terrific monarch. 
As the Royal Band reached the Market Place, where 
the populace were assembled, they played a triumphal 
Japanese march, in which every musician performed 
the air he was best acquainted with, in the time that 
was most agreeable to himself, and in the key that 
pleased him best which gave an individuality to 
the whole performance which you never succeed in 
getting when the same air is played by all. 

After the band came a troupe of Japanese warriors 
in red and black armour, and helmets which quite 
concealed their pretty faces, and after them a kind 
of portable throne in which were seated the Mikado 
and his protegee Kati-sha. As they entered, all the 
people flung themselves on their faces, pretending 
that the lustre of the Mikado's resplendent beauty 
was so blinding that no man might look at it except 
through smoke-coloured spectacles, with which they 
had not had time to provide themselves. 

9 1 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

As the people lay face downwards on the ground 
they sang the Japanese National Anthem as well as 
they could, but as the dust got into their throats 
whenever they drew a breath, the result was less 
remarkable for its smooth and velvety utterance 
than for a kind of coughing loyalty which caused 
infinite amusement to its august object. 

This was the National Anthem : 

" Miya sama, miya sama, 
Ou ma no, maye ni. 
Pira-Pira sara no wa 

Nan gia na 
Toko tonyare, tonyare na ! " 

And I feel sure you will agree with me that, crude as 
it is, yet as an expression of simple heartfelt loyalty, 
combined with self-respecting humility, it is far in 
advance of the ridiculous doggerel which we Britishers 
have to sing whenever we are called upon to hail our 
beloved monarch. 

The (rather) good Mikado then proceeded, as was 
his custom, to explain his position and views. The 
song he sang was not intended to be interrupted and, 
when sung without interruption, it is a singularly 
powerful piece of lyrical composition. But on this 
occasion he was accompanied by Kati-sha, who had 

92 



A TROUPE OF WARRIORS IN RED AND BLACK ARMOUR 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

no idea of being left out in the cold when anything 
interesting was going on, and who consequently 
took good care that the Mikado should not have it 
all his own way. This quite spoilt the beauty of the 
verses, to the annoyance of the Poet-Laureate Aus- 
Tin who wrote them. So, when the Mikado sang : 

" From every kind of man 
Obedience I expect ; 
I'm the Emperor of Japan 

Kati-sha, regardless of metre, cut in with : 

" And I'm his daughter-in-law elect ! 
He'll marry his son 
(He's only got one) 
To his daughter-in-law elect ! " 

This absurd interruption annoyed the Mikado, 
who felt that it was a liberty on Kati-sha's part. 
However, he went on : 

" My morals have been declared 
Particularly correct 

And Kati-sha, as before, sang : 

" But they're nothing at all compared 
With those of his daughter-in-law elect ! 

Bow ! Bow ! 
To his daughter-in-law elect ! " 

By this time the Mikado was very angry, but he 

95 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

was too much of a gentleman to expostulate publicly. 
So he continued : 

" In a fatherly kind of way 

I govern each tribe and sect, 
All cheerfully own my sway " 

The irrepressible and self-assertive Kati-sha broke 
in with : 

" Except his daughter-in-law elect ! 
As tough as a bone 
With a will of her own 
Is Ms daughter-in-law elect ! " 

It was quite true, but this was not the time to make 
the statement. The (pretty) good Mikado muttered 
something under his breath (I can't imagine what it 
was) and began once more : 

" My nature is love and light 

My freedom from all defect " 



Again Kati-sha put in her oar : 

" Are insignificant quite 

Compared with his daughter-in-law elect ! 

Bow ! Bow ! 
To his daughter-in-law elect ! 

Bow ! Bow ! 
To his daughter-in-law elect." 

At last the Mikado turned sulky. There were four- 
and-twenty beautiful verses in all and the best were 

96 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

to come. So not only did the populace lose a treat, 
but all the Poet-Laureate's trouble in writing them 
was quite wasted. The Mikado, who rather fancied 
his singing (he had a light tenor voice with baritone- 
bass falsetto), said nothing at the time, but resolved 
to suppress Kati-sha's pudding for a week as a pun- 
ishment for her unmannerly behaviour. 

When it was quite sure that the Mikado was not 
going to sing any more, Koko, Pooh Bah and Pitti- 
Sing came forward and flung themselves on their 
faces at the royal feet. If you ask how Pitti-Sing 
came to be mixed up with it, I may explain that Pooh 
Bah, who among other things held the post of Lord 
High Admirer, had, in his official capacity, fallen 
head over ears in love with her, and they were, in 
point of fact, engaged. 

" Your Majesty," said Koko, " I am honoured in 
being permitted to welcome your Majesty. I guess 
the object of your Majesty's visit your wishes have 
been attended to. The execution has taken place ! ' 

" Oh," said the Mikado, " you've had an execution, 
have you ? ' 

" Yes," replied Koko. " The Coroner has just 
handed me his certificate." 

" / am the Coroner," explained Pooh Bah. 

97 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 



The Mikado took the certificate and read it. 
" At Titipu, in the presence of the Lord Chan- 
cellor, the Lord Chief Justice, Attorney-General, 

Secretary of State for 
the Home Department, 
Lord Mayor and Groom 
of the Second Floor 
Front." 

"They were all pre- 
sent, "said Pooh Bah. "I 
counted them myself." 
"Ha," said the 
Mikado, smacking his 
lips, " I should like to 
have seen it." 

" A tough fellow he 
was, your Majesty 
a man of gigantic 
strength. His struggles 
were terrific." 

And the three con- 
spirators proceeded to 
describe : 




98 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

THE EXECUTION THAT NEVER TOOK PLACE 
Koko sang : 

" The criminal cried as he dropped him down 

In a state of wild alarm 
With a frightful, frantic, fearful frown 

I bared my big right arm. 
I seized him by his little pig-tail 
And on his knees fell he, 

And he squirmed and struggled 

And gurgled and guggled, 
I drew my snickersnee ! 

Oh never shall I 

Forget the cry 
Or the shriek that shrieked he, 

As I gnashed my teeth 

When from its sheath 
I drew my snickersnee ! " 

Then the other two sang : 

" We know him well, 

He cannot tell 
Untrue or groundless tales 
Whenever he tries 
To palm off lies, 
Invariably he fails ! " 

Then Pitti-Sing, who was a conceited little thing, 
continued the narrative : 

" He shivered and shook as he gave the sign 

For the stroke he didn't deserve, 
When all of a sudden his eye met mine 
And it seemed to brace his nerve, 

99 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

For he nodded his head and kissed his hand 
And he whistled an air, did he, 

As the sabre true 

Cut cleanly through 
His cervical vertebrae ! 

When a man's afraid 

A beautiful maid 
Is a cheering sight to see, 

And it's I'm glad 

That moment sad 
Was cheered by sight of me ! " 

Then the other two sang : 

" Her terrible tale 

You can't assail. 
With truth it quite agrees. 

Her taste exact 

For faultless fact 
Amounts to a disease." 

Then came Pooh Bah's turn. That ridiculous 
impostor couldn't keep his nonsensical pride out of 
his verse, as you will see : 

" Now though you'd have said that head was dead, 

For its owner dead was he, 
It stood on its neck with a smile well-bred 

And bowed three times to me ; 
It was none of your impudent off-hand nods 
But as humble as could be, 
For it clearly knew 
The deference due 
To a man of pedigree ! 

100 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

And it's O I vow 

That deathly bow 
Was a touching sight to see, 

Though trunkless, yet 

It couldn't forget 
The deference due to me ! " 

The other two were thoroughly disgusted with 
the old donkey's ridiculous pretensions, but they 
felt bound to endorse his story. So they sang : 

"In solemn sooth 

He speaks the truth 
(Whenever he finds it pays), 

And in this case 

It all took place 
Exactly as he says ! " 

" All this," said the Mikado, " is very interesting, 
but we came about a totally different matter. A year 
ago my son bolted from our Imperial Court." 

" Indeed ? " replied Koko. " Had he anything to 
complain of ? ' 

" Nothing whatever," interposed Kati-sha. " On 
the contrary, I was going to marry him, yet he fled." 

" I am surprised," said the Lord High Admirer, 
' that he should have fled from one so lovely." 

' That's not true," said Kati-sha, who was nothing 
if not outspoken ; ' you consider that I am not 
H 101 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

beautiful because my face is plain. But you know 
nothing. It is not in the face alone that beauty is to 
be sought. My face is plain, but I have a left shoulder- 
blade that is a miracle of loveliness. People come miles 
to see it. My right elbow has a fascination that few 
can resist. It is on view Tuesdays and Fridays on 
presentation of visiting card. I have a tooth that 
may be said to stand alone. Many artists of distinc- 
tion have tried to draw it, but in vain. As for my 
circulation, it is the largest in the world." 

" And yet he fled ! " said Koko, who, with Pitti- 
Sing and Pooh Bah, was convulsed with repressed 
chuckles. 

" And is now masquerading in this town," added 
the Mikado, " disguised as a Second Trombone." 

" A Second Trombone ! ' exclaimed the three 
conspirators, shaking with terror. 

' Yes in the Purple Tartarian Band. Would it 
be troubling you too much if I asked you to produce 
him ? " 

" Oh, not at all not at all," said Koko. " I'd do 
so with greatest pleasure only it's rather awkward 
he's gone abroad ! ' 

" Gone abroad ? ' said the Mikado. " His 
address ? ' 

102 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

"PeckhamRye!" replied Pooh Bah, namingthe first 
place that had the advantage of being a long way off. 
' Upper Tooting, wasn't it ? " asked Pitti-Sing. 
' Peckham Rye," replied Pooh Bah so decidedly 
that further doubt was out of the question. 

In the meantime Kati-sha had amused herself by 
reading the Coroner's certificate. 

' Ha ! " she exclaimed in a tone that made them 
all (including the Mikado) jump a foot into the air. 
' See here his name Nanki Poo the name he 
went by beheaded this morning ! ! ! ' 

Koko, Pooh Bah and Pitti-Sing fell flat upon the 
ground. They were convinced that their last hour 
had come. 

" Dear, dear, dear ! " said the Mikado, " this is 
very tiresome. My poor fellow, in your anxiety to 
carry out my wishes you have beheaded the heir to 
the throne of Japan ! ' 

" I beg to offer an unqualified apology ! " moaned 
Koko. 

" I desire," stammered Pooh Bah, " to associate 
myself with that expression of regret." 

" Indeed," said Pitti-Sing, " we hadn't the re- 
motest idea 

" Of course you hadn't," said the Mikado. " Come, 

103 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

come, my good friend (addressing Koko), don't dis- 
tress yourself it was no fault of yours. If a man of 
exalted rank chooses to disguise himself as a Second 
Trombone he must take the consequences. It really 
distresses me to see you take on so. I've no doubt he 
thoroughly deserved all he got." 

Koko, Pooh Bah and Pitti-Sing were infinitely 
relieved to find that the Mikado took so just and 
reasonable a view of the situation. He wasn't such 
a bad fellow after all. 

' We are extremely obliged to your Majesty," 
said Koko, as they all three rose from the ground. 

" Obliged ? " replied the (rather) kind Mikado, 
" not a bit. How could you tell ? ' 

' It wasn't written on the gentleman's forehead," 
said Pitti-Sing. 

" It might have been on his pocket-handkerchief," 
said Pooh Bah, " only Japanese don't use pocket- 
handkerchiefs." 

'Ha! ha!' said the (rather) good-humoured 
Mikado. And all five roared with laughter at Pooh 
Bah's little joke. 

' I forget," said the Mikado, turning to Kati-sha, 
" the punishment for compassing the death of the 
Heir Apparent ? ' 

104 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

' Punishment ! " exclaimed the three conspirators, 
in a condition that was little short of collapse. 

' Yes," replied the Mikado, " something linger- 
ing with boiling oil in it, I fancy. I think boiling oil 
occurs in it, but I'm not sure. I know it's something 
humorous but lingering, with either boiling oil or 
melted lead. Come, come, don't fret, I'm not a bit 
angry." 

' If your Majesty will accept our assurance " 

began Koko. 

"We hadn't the least notion " added Pitti-Sing. 

' I wasn't there ! " exclaimed that cowardly im- 
postor Pooh Bah. 

' Of course of course," said the Mikado, " that's 
the pathetic part of it. Unfortunately the fool of an 
Act says, ' compassing the death of the Heir Appa- 
rent.' There's not a word about a mistake or not 
knowing. There should be, of course, but there isn't. 
However, I'll have it altered next session." 

' What's the good of that ? " said Koko, almost 
fainting. 

' Now let's see," said the obliging monarch, who 
was always politely anxious to meet people's views. 
" Will after lunch suit you? Can you wait till then ? ' 
" Oh, yes," moaned Koko, " we can wait till then !" 

105 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 




' I don't want any lunch," blubbered Pooh Bah. 
' Then we'll make it after luncheon. Come along, 
Kati-sha, this has given me quite an appetite." 
And the Mikado, with Kati-sha, went into the 

1 06 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

pavilion, where a sumptuous collation had been 
prepared at Koko's expense. Koko was to have 
presided as host, but under the circumstances the 
Mikado thoughtfully excused him. 

" Well," said Koko to Pooh Bah as soon as the 
Mikado and Kati-sha had withdrawn, " a nice mess 
you've got us into with your nodding head and the 
deference due to a man of pedigree ! ' 

" Merely corroborative detail, intended to give 
artistic verisimilitude to a bald and otherwise un- 
convincing narrative ! " replied Pooh Bah. 

" Corroborative detail ! " exclaimed Pitti-Sing ; 
" corroborative fiddlestick ! ' 

" Well, there's only one thing to be done," said 
Koko. " Nanki Poo hasn't started yet he must 
come to life again at once that he may be produced 
before the Mikado." 

At that moment Nanki Poo and Yum-Yum crossed 
the Market Place, Nanki Poo carrying two bundles, 
which contained their respective trousseaux. 

" Here he comes," said Koko ; " how fortunate ! 
Nanki Poo I've good news for you you're re- 
prieved." 

" Oh, but it's too late," replied Nanki Poo. " I'm 
a dead man and I'm off for my honeymoon." 

107 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

' Nonsense. It appears that you're the son of the 
Mikado. Your father is here, and he has brought 
Kati-sha, who claims you in marriage." 

' Oh, but he's married to me now," said Yum- 
Yum. 

' I can't come to life and marry Kati-sha," said 
Nanki Poo, " because I'm dead and married already 
consequently she will insist on my being executed, 
and then Yum- Yum will have to be buried alive, so 
that's out of the question. Now if you could per- 
suade Kati-sha to marry you, I could come to life 
without any fear of being put to death." 

' I marry Kati-sha ! " exclaimed Koko. 

' I really think it's the only way," said Yum- Yum. 

' But, my good girl, have you seen her ? She's 
something appalling ! " 

" Ah, that's only her face," said Yum- Yum. " She 
has a left elbow which people come miles to see." 

'I'm told that her right heel is much admired by 
connoisseurs," remarked Pooh Bah. 

' Here she comes," said Pitti-Sing. " Now is 
your opportunity." 

At that moment Kati-sha, who had finished her 
luncheon, came out of the pavilion ; and Yum- 
Yum and Nanki Poo delicately withdrew that the 

108 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

(possible) lovers might have it all to themselves. 
Koko recognized the excellence of Nanki Poo's 
advice and decided, come what might, to win her 
hand rather than lose his life. 

' Kati-sha," said he, approaching her timidly. 

' Ha ! " exclaimed Kati-sha, flying at his throat 
and shaking him as a terrier shakes a rat, " the mis- 
creant who robbed me of my love ! But vengeance 
pursues they are heating the cauldron ! ' 

' Kati-sha ! behold a suppliant for mercy ! " And 
he threw himself at her feet. 

" Mercy ? " exclaimed she. " Had you mercy on 
him ? True, he did not love me, but he would have 
loved me in time. I am an acquired taste only the 
educated palate can appreciate me. I was educating 
his palate when he left me. It takes years to train a 
man to love me, and you robbed me of my prey I 
mean my pupil just as his education was on the 
point of completion ! Oh, where shall I find another ! 
Where shall I find another ! ' 

Koko braced himself up to a supreme effort. 

" Here ! " said he with terrific vehemence. " Here 
here here ! ' 

(It sounded like applause, but if you examine it 
you will see that it is spelt differently.) 

109 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" What ! ! ! " exclaimed Kati-sha, in unbounded 
surprise. 

" Kati-sha," said Koko, " for years I have loved 
you with a white-hot passion which is slowly but 
surely consuming my very vitals ! True it is that, 
under a poor mask of unutterable disgust, I have 
endeavoured to conceal a passion whose inner fires 
are broiling the soul within me ! Kati-sha, I dare 
not hope for your love, but I will not live without 
it ! Accept it, or I perish on the spot ! ' 

" Go to ! " said Kati-sha, who made it a rule never 
to snub an admirer ; " who knows so well as I that 
no one dies of a broken heart ! ' 

' You know not what you say," replied Koko. 
" Listen ! " 

And he sang her this pathetic little ballad : 

THE LITTLE TOM-TIT 

" On a tree by a river a little torn-tit 

Sang ' Willow, titwillow, titwillow ! ' 
And I said to him, ' Dicky bird, why do you sit 

Singing " Willow, titwillow, titwillow " ? 
Is it weakness of intellect, birdie,' I cried, 
' Or a rather tough worm in your little inside ? ' 
With a shake of his poor little head he replied, 
' Oh willow, titwillow, titwillow ! ' 



110 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

" He slapped at his chest as he sat on that bough, 

Saying ' Willow, titwillow, titwillow ! ' 
And a cold perspiration bespangled his brow, 

' Oh willow, titwillow, titwillow ! ' 
He sobbed and he sighed, and a gurgle he gave, 
Then he threw himself into the billowy wave, 
And an echo arose from the suicide's grave 
' Oh willow, titwillow, titwillow ! ' 

" Now I feel just as sure as I'm sure that my name 

Isn't willow, titwillow, titwillow, 
That 'twas blighted affection that made him exclaim 

' Oh willow, titwillow, titwillow ! ' 
And if you remain callous and obdurate, I 
Shall perish as he did and you will know why. 
Though I probably shall not exclaim as I die 

' Oh willow, titwillow, titwillow ! ' " 



Poor soft-hearted Kati-sha was deeply touched 
by this pathetic little story. In fact, at the end, she 
was almost in tears. 

' Did he really die of love ? " said she between 
her sobs. 

" He really did ! I knew the bird intimately." 

' And all on account of a cruel little hen ? Poor 
little chap ! And and if I refuse to marry you, will 
you do the same ? ' 

" At once ! " 

' No, no," said Kati-sha, now fairly crying ; " you 

in 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

mustn't ! Anything but that ! Oh, I'm a silly little 
goose ! ' 




And she flung herself on Koko's unwilling shoulder 
in a burst of hysterical grief. 

Koko had obtained what he wanted, but even then 
he didn't seem quite happy. However, she hurried 
him at once to the Registrar's office that they might 
be married before he had time to change his mind. 

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THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

At that critical moment the Mikado, who had 
been sitting over his wine after Kati-sha left him, 
appeared, wiping his lips with every appearance of 
satisfaction. 

" Now then," said he, " we've had a capital lunch. 
Have all the painful preparations been made ? ' 

" Your Majesty, all is prepared," replied Pish 
Tush. 

' Then produce the unfortunate gentleman and 
his two well-meaning but misguided accomplices." 

Thereupon Koko, Pooh Bah and Pitti-Sing ad- 
vanced, led by Kati-sha, and flung themselves at 
the Mikado's feet. 

" Mercy ! " said Kati-sha. " Mercy for Koko, 
mercy for Pitti-Sing, mercy even for Pooh Bah ! ' 

The Mikado was not a little surprised at this un- 
expected change of front. 

' I don't think I quite caught that remark," said 
he. 

" Mercy ! " repeated Kati-sha. " My husband that 
was to have been is dead and I have married this 
miserable object ! " indicating Koko, who was 
making tremendous efforts to look blissful. 

" Oh ! " said the Mikado, " you haven't been long 
about it." 



THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

' We were married before the Registrar," said 
Koko, blushing like a girl. 

" / am the Registrar," exclaimed Pooh Bah. " It 
doesn't take long." 

" So I see," replied the Mikado. " But my diffi- 
culty is, that as you have slain the Heir Apparent to 
the throne of Japan 

At that moment Nanki Poo and Yum-Yum pre- 
sented themselves before the Mikado and threw 
themselves at his feet. 

" Bless my heart," said the Mikado. " Here he is ! " 

" And your daughter-in-law elected ! ' added 
Yum-Yum rather neatly. 

' Explain," said the Mikado, addressing Koko. 

" Your Majesty," said Koko, " it's like this. It is 
true that I stated that I had killed Nanki Poo " 

' Yes," replied the Mikado, " with most affecting 
particulars." 

' Merely corroborative detail," interposed Pooh 
Bah, " intended to give artistic verisimilitude to a 
bald and " 

' Will you refrain from putting in your oar ? ' 
said Koko. ' ' Your Majesty, it's like this : when your 
Majesty says ' Let a thing be done,' it's as good as 
done practically it is done, because your Majesty's 

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THE STORY OF THE MIKADO 

will is law. Your Majesty says ' Kill a gentleman/ 
and a gentleman is told off to be killed conse- 
quently that gentleman is as good as dead practi- 
cally he is dead and if he is dead, why not say so ? ' 

" I see," said the rather puzzle-headed monarch 
but I don't suppose that he really did see. Anyway, 
/ don't and I don't suppose you do. 

At all events he appeared to be satisfied, and that 
was all that was wanted. So this exciting story, which 
is crammed full of thrilling incidents and hair- 
breadth escapes, ended quite happily and without 
any bloodshed after all ! 




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